"Paradise Lost: A Poem Written in Ten Books"
Essays on the 1667 First Edition
Publication Year: 2007
Published by: Duquesne University Press
Title Page, Copyright
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This volume grew out of a lively and engaging session titled “The Discovery of a New Milton Epic: Paradise Lost 1667,” organized on the occasion of the International Milton Congress, hosted by Duquesne University, March 11–13, 2004. The purpose of the session was to stress the importance of a long-overlooked document in Milton...
1. Back to the Future: Paradise Lost 1667
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When Milton declared in the 1667 edition of his ten-book epic Paradise Lost that his muse Urania would “fit audience find, though few” (7.31), little did he surmise how true that statement would prove to be for future generations of Miltonists who neither know nor care about the version in which Milton’s “diffuse epic” first appeared.1 Even those who do profess to care, however, are not necessarily the
2. “More and More Perceiving”: Paraphernalia and Purpose in Paradise Lost, 1668, 1669
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The text of Paradise Lost, in the different issues of the first edition, is an oracle of its own history—a history of alterations and accretions: changing signatures, modified legends, variant title pages with different pointings and type facings; additions or supplements, including a list of errata, observations on the verse form, and arguments initially printed not as headpieces to individual books but as...
3. Simmons’s Shell Game: The Six Title Pages of Paradise Lost
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Readers who purchased Paradise Lost between 1667 and 1674 would have encountered one of six different title pages that the publisher Samuel Simmons had printed with the first edition of the poem (see figs. 1–6).1 These title pages contain varying degrees of detail about the work’s provenance: three of the pages announce “Printed by S. Simmons,” for example, while the other three note instead that...
4. Milton’s 1667 Paradise Lost in Its Historical and Literary Contexts
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The following essay attempts to recover how Paradise Lost appeared—and might be read—in the context of 1667, when Milton’s epic first was published. My concern is not with the difference between the ten- and twelve-book versions, but rather with the ways in which the 1667 Paradise Lost was part of the cultural conversation in the decade immediately following the restoration of...
5. The Emperor’s New Clothes: The Royal Fashion of Satan and Charles II
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An anecdote, probably apocryphal but repeated in several eighteenth century sources and included in J. Milton French’s Life Records of John Milton, recounts a spirited exchange between King Charles II and Milton during the early Restoration. According to the Gospel Magazine; or, Treasury of Divine Knowledge for October 1776, Charles verbally accosted the blind poet upon their chance meeting in St. James...
6. “Now let us play”: Paradise Lost and Pleasure Gardens in Restoration London
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For Samuel Pepys, as for many Londoners in the 1660s, the new or newly restored gardens and royal parks were a place of many pleasures: taking in the fresh air, walking in the groves, listening to the birds, admiring the natural beauty, and enjoying music, food, drink, and sexual dalliance.2 Pleasure gardens were part of what historians have termed the commercialization of leisure in the late...
7. “[N]ew Laws thou see’st impos’d”: Milton’s Dissenting Angels and the Clarendon Code, 1661–65
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Thomas Venner, a sometime cooper in London and the occasional preacher for a small congregation on Coleman Street, stood on the gallows under the bleak winter sun in January 1661. Before his sentence was carried out on the very street where the “false Master Venner had first promoted, encouraged and at last unanimously agreed upon the late Rebellion and Insurrection,” Venner fervently denied that...
Poetic Justice: Plato’s Republic in Paradise Lost (1667)
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Readers of Paradise Lost have long observed that the shift to a twelve-book structure in the 1674 edition suggests a more direct engagement of Virgil’s Aeneid; critical discussions of the initial ten-book structure of Milton’s epic have tended, however, to emphasize numerological theories, rather than consider specific intertextual engagements that such a structure might...
9. The Mysterious Darkness of Unknowing: Paradise Lost and the God Beyond Names
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In 1667, John Milton dropped a bomb on the literary and intellectual world of England. Unfortunately, that bomb proved initially to be a dud, an object of curiosity rather than an immediate literary sensation. Received with more of a collective raised eyebrow than with the buzz and stir for which Milton must have hoped, the ten-book...
10. “That which by creation first brought forth Light out of darkness!”: Paradise Lost, First Edition
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Authorial revisions are instructive in many ways. We may think of the alternate ending of Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations or of the numerous alterations that William Butler Yeats made to many of his poems, notably “Sailing to Byzantium,” or the significantly different text of the second version of William Faulkner’s “The Bear.” These authorial revisions give us an insight into the development...
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ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS
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Page Count: 299
Illustrations: 9 facsimile pages, 1 painting
Publication Year: 2007