John Milton

John Milton was an English poet, polemicist, man of letters, and a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell. He wrote at a time of religious flux and political upheaval, and is best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost, written in blank verse.
Milton's poetry and prose reflect deep personal convictions, a passion for freedom and self-determination, and the urgent issues and political turbulence of his day. Writing in English, Latin, Greek, and Italian, he achieved international renown within his lifetime, and his celebrated Areopagitica —written in condemnation of pre-publication censorship—is among history's most influential and impassioned defenses of free speech and freedom of the press.
William Hayley's 1796 biography called him the "greatest English author," and he remains generally regarded "as one of the preeminent writers in the English language," though critical reception has oscillated in the centuries since his death.
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Paradise Lost is an epic poem in twelve books, in English heroic verse without rhyme, by John Milton (C. P. P.) and was published in 1667. The subject is the fall of man, and the expulsion from Paradise. Book I. Satan arouses his legions, still suffering from their expulsion from heaven, tells them of an ancient prophecy of a new world and a new race to be created, and summons a general council, to meet at Pandemonium, his capital, to confer on the subject. Book II. At the council it is resolved not to hazard another battle for the recovery of heaven but to search for the prophesied new world. Satan undertakes to find it alone. Book III. The Almighty sees Satan flying through space, confers with the Son, foretells the fall, and arranges the scheme of redemption. Meanwhile Satan alights on the world. Book IV. Satan enters Eden and overhears Adam and Eve talking about the tree of knowledge, of the fruit of which they are forbidden to eat under penalty of death, and determines to make them transgress. Book V. The Almighty sends Raphael to warn Adam against Satan. Book VI. Raphael tells of the war in heaven and of the defeat and expulsion of the rebel angels. Book VII. Raphael relates how and why the world was created. Book VIII. Adam tells Raphael what he knows of his own creation and of his nuptials with Eve. Book IX. After Raphael's departure Satan takes the form of a serpent, and finding Eve alone tells her that he has acquired both the power of speech and wisdom by eating the fruit of the forbidden tree. Eve, whose curiosity is aroused, tastes the fruit and at last takes some to Adam and persuades him also to eat. The eyes of both are opened, and they accuse each other. Book X. Satan returns to Pandemonium and relates the success of his mission. Book XI.
John Milton is, next to William Shakespeare, the most influential English poet, a writer whose work spans an incredible breadth of forms and subject matter. The Complete Poetry and Essential Prose of John Milton celebrates this author’s genius in a thoughtfully assembled book that provides new modern-spelling versions of Milton’s texts, expert commentary, and a wealth of other features that will please even the most dedicated students of Milton’s canon. Edited by a trio of esteemed scholars, this volume is the definitive Milton for our time.

In these pages you will find all of Milton’s verse, from masterpieces such as Paradise Lost–widely viewed as the finest epic poem in the English language–to shorter works such as the Nativity Ode, Lycidas,, A Masque and Samson Agonistes. Milton’s non-English language sonnets, verses, and elegies are accompanied by fresh translations by Gordon Braden. Among the newly edited and authoritatively annotated prose selections are letters, pamphlets, political tracts, essays such as Of Education and Areopagitica, and a generous portion of his heretical Christian Doctrine. These works reveal Milton’s passionate advocacy of controversial positions during the English Civil War and the Commonwealth and Restoration periods.

With his deep learning and the sensual immediacy of his language, Milton creates for us a unique bridge to the cultures of classical antiquity and medieval and Renaissance Christianity. With this in mind, the editors give careful attention to preserving the vibrant energy of Milton’s verse and prose, while making the relatively unfamiliar aspects of his writing accessible to modern readers. Notes identify the old meanings and roots of English words, illuminate historical contexts–including classical and biblical allusions–and offer concise accounts of the author’s philosophical and political assumptions. This edition is a consummate work of modern literary scholarship.
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