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Paradise Lost

Folio Society devotees

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Edited: Mar 30, 2015, 1:14pm Top

Officially for sale now. The mezzotints are a draw, but for $230? Not such a draw for me.

And, hey, let's commemorate a man's murder! Sorry, just seems like a tacky way to market a book.

Mar 30, 2015, 1:30pm Top

I think these two books are very attractive and I am very tempted to buy my personal copy, especially with the members' launch discount of £25. The Folio Society look to have published them to very high standards.

Mar 30, 2015, 1:30pm Top

:o want want want buy buy buy

Mar 30, 2015, 1:34pm Top

>1 johnbean9: "And, hey, let's commemorate a man's murder! Sorry, just seems like a tacky way to market a book."

I disagree. Deaths and anniversaries of deaths are natural times to appreciate the individual who died. That's why Lincoln's funeral train took a circuitous 2-week trip from Washington to Springfield in 1865, and that's why lots of individuals and organizations (not just the Folio Society) are focusing on him 150 years later.

Mar 30, 2015, 1:50pm Top

If FS said it were commemorating his life/legacy, that would make sense. To commemorate his assassination is what sounds odd to me. But that's probably just me being overly sensitive :) At any rate, I should have kept the focus on the book, which does appear to be another excellent FS production.

Mar 30, 2015, 2:24pm Top

>5 johnbean9: Maybe they hired a Bulgarian editor or something? :)

Bulgaria is one of the very small number of countries that celebrates someone's death as opposed to their birthday - both for historical and literary figures - all the "Day of Name" are on the anniversaries of their deaths. It's just... a cultural thing I guess. There are a few more countries like that and it does not even register as strange for me considering that this is what I am used to...

Mar 30, 2015, 2:25pm Top

Yep. As if Rupert Brooke and Dune weren't enough, now FS goes and publishes Milton with these lovely mezzotints.


Decisions, decisions....

Mar 30, 2015, 2:26pm Top

I have the huge 1991 FS edition of Paradise Lost, so I'll pass on this one though it does look very nice. The Ian Pollock (sp?) illustrations are not to some people's taste, I must admit.

Edited: Mar 30, 2015, 2:58pm Top

Big sale, then dune, then credit card celibacy, but no - folio wouldn`t leave it like that, they instead produce this ..

*despear* .. god damn, it`s lovely .. now i want the rubiyat also ..

Edited: Mar 30, 2015, 4:49pm Top

Looks lovely, but a skip for me, I recently bought the Blake version not too long ago and it fits with the Divine Comedy and Faust better than this new edition.

Mar 30, 2015, 3:15pm Top

I'm going out busking for Milton NOW. Perhaps Folio would consider commemorating the death of my credit card?

Mar 30, 2015, 3:19pm Top

>11 boldface:

Great idea! I should do the same over here! I really hope FS lets up after this batch. I need a break, as does my credit card and bank account!

Mar 30, 2015, 3:31pm Top

Ha, maybe you're right, Annie!

As for Paradise Lost, the more I look at it, the more I want. But that price ... I think I can wait until it's on the second-hand market.

Mar 30, 2015, 4:38pm Top

I already own both the Blake and Pollock editions. So I guess I have to order this gorgeous new edition too ...

Mar 30, 2015, 4:41pm Top

Looks like EP and FS are competing head-to-head on this one:


Mar 30, 2015, 5:16pm Top

>14 rainerc:

As a purchaser of the Blake volume when it was published and of the 1991 Ian Pollock edition a couple of years ago when its illustrations won me over, I also just may have to succumb again. I could probably hold out against the mezzotints alone, but the commentary volume is a very substantial attraction. It's not distinctly stated, but I'm trusting that it contains the full text of the poem as with the Letterpress Shakespeare's commentaries, hence allowing for the alternatives of a more studious or an uncluttered reading: handling two volumes of such proportions at the same time just wouldn't in my estimation work well at all.

Mar 30, 2015, 5:27pm Top

>15 ultrarightist: Thanks for posting, it's an interesting comparison. I much prefer the look of the FS version, plus it includes a separate substantial commentary volume, is over two inches taller, two inches wider, but less than two thirds the EP price!

Mar 30, 2015, 5:39pm Top

>17 cronshaw: and a quick persual of the pics of the illustrations indicate to me a sharper definition of the chiaroscuro in the FS edition over the EP edition.

Mar 30, 2015, 8:03pm Top

1991, 2003, 2015... a definite pattern is emerging here. Any nominations yet for the chosen illustrator of the 2027 edition?

Mar 31, 2015, 2:14am Top

How long does the discount last?

Mar 31, 2015, 3:25am Top

>15 ultrarightist: Definitely prefer the more modern style of Folio over Easton's dated approach, but in terms of the price brackets we're looking at I would have expected that Folio at least bind theirs in leather rather than buckram.

Mar 31, 2015, 6:10am Top

> 21
Seriously! Though I greatly prefer the EP binding, as I'm not a fan of the "modern" look Folio is going with on such a classic work. Unfortunately I already purchased the EP edition without there being any indication that Folio would be releasing something so similar. I am sure the Folio copy has much better illustrations as they generally do, but it is not clear to me if they are merely photographs or some other reproduction of John Martin's mezzotints or if each book contains mezzotints themselves. If the latter, I may succumb as it is one of my absolute favorite illustration styles (which is why I bought the EP edition having already owned several other copies of Paradise Lost). Plus there is the added benefit of the commentary.

As EP deluxe editions go, the PL is actually nicer than most with strong printing (no photocopy effect) and thick paper with an almost rag-like tactile feel and thick supple leather boards. The illustrations are gorgeous but that may have more to do with the quality of the original rather than the quality of Easton's reproduction.

I do NOT need another copy of Paradise Lost and since the illustrations are identical to a copy I own already I cant even use that to rationalize the purchase. I will not enjoy fretting about this!

Mar 31, 2015, 6:30am Top

When i think about it, Paradise Lost was mentioned in december or something - i think so - (somewhere, dont remember where), so its not completly out of the blue .. i remember that slipcase beeing discussed

Mar 31, 2015, 7:36am Top

Discount lasts until May 10th, Pellias

Mar 31, 2015, 7:38am Top

Thank you Graham /then i have to buy it in apr. after all :(

Mar 31, 2015, 10:14am Top

Interesting, both EP and Folio are similarly priced except obviously Folio has more content in their product. Just wished that Folio was at at least quarter bound in leather, sorry just hate how buckram feels.

Mar 31, 2015, 10:24am Top

I prefer the traditional EP cover, but FS typographic values and illustration quality are always superior to EP. If the primary reason to acquire this particular volume is the illustrations, then the FS edition is the best choice, imo.

Mar 31, 2015, 12:22pm Top

>21 wongie:

The Folio edition seems to have been quite some time in development - the only prior reference to John Martin's illustrations that I recall came in Joe's Blog over three years ago, http://www.foliosociety.com/joesblog/thursday-19th-january-2012/ . I can't think there was any chance of actual mezzotints in an unlimited print run at this price point.

I'm happy enough myself with the quarter buckram binding as it must have helped keep the price down: just not quite persuaded aesthetically by the lettering on the front boards. My fallible memory tells me the 2003 volume had a list price of £79.95, more than half the price of the present work which includes a second volume of very similar proportions.

Edited: Apr 2, 2015, 12:03pm Top

Though Folio's Editorial Director seems to have shared misgivings about the binding material: the letter accompanying the promotional mailing I received today refers to the work being quarter bound in leather, though the main leaflet like the website photos clearly shows two buckram spines. Maybe thought was given to the possibility of a leather spine for the primary work and buckram for the otherwise matching commentary volume, as with the Herefordshire Pomona LE.

Apr 2, 2015, 12:37pm Top

I actually prefer the buckram spine, maybe i have gotten use to it .. looks cleaner in a way, at least on certain volumes .. i think ..

Apr 11, 2015, 7:58pm Top

I like the look of the book, but doubt I'd be interested in the content enough to spend over 200 USD. Maybe someday on a bigger sale or used market. 2015 is painful for me with all these interesting titles...

Apr 11, 2015, 11:29pm Top

Has anyone received a copy of this yet?

Apr 17, 2015, 10:03am Top

> 32

I second the question. Thinking about getting the Folio version. Don't suppose any crazed book collector has purchased both Folio and EP editions and can compare? :)

Apr 17, 2015, 11:40am Top

The book also counts as FOUR for shipping purposes. With the shipping hike, this becomes absurdly expensive.

Apr 17, 2015, 11:45am Top

>34 EclecticIndulgence: I saw the set in the dMR today, and I'm not surprised it counts as four standard volumes for shipping purposes, it's a huge, heavy set.

Apr 17, 2015, 11:57am Top

The HUGE Paradise Lost in Nigerian goatskin (not buckram), illustrated by Blake, was significantly less expensive and even less expensive to ship. I love quality plates as much as the next guy, but the prices are higher and the quality, at least of the binding, is inferior.

(shipping charge on the bike, however, is still the same ;)

Apr 17, 2015, 12:07pm Top

>36 EclecticIndulgence:

But the page size of the new edition is the same, and the Blake Paradise Lost was published twelve years ago, and the price of the current version also covers a commentary volume that's quite as substantial as the work itself.

I expect I'll place an order soon. Then, UK shipping is only a perfectly reasonable £6.95.

Apr 17, 2015, 12:23pm Top

>34 EclecticIndulgence: The shipping was an issue for me too as the size doesn't seem to warrant the extra two volume cost...

Apr 17, 2015, 12:24pm Top

>36 EclecticIndulgence: True, the spine of the Blake edition is finer, being goatskin, but the commentary volume (which the lovely Blake volume doesn't have) doubles the size of the set, and the Blake-illustrated edition came out over a decade ago, when prices generally were less and the price of international postage a lot less. The cost of cycling home from the dMR has increased; I need a little more wine to recover these days.

Apr 17, 2015, 12:46pm Top

>34 EclecticIndulgence: ff.

All I can say is, suck it up, sadly. Us poor Canadians (and Americans and Australians and...) don't get much say in the matter. I've been dithering for weeks over whether or not I should order it. I agree that $27 shipping is pretty expensive, but I justified it on the basis that if I ordered these books from a US seller over Abe down the road, absolutely no question that I'd be paying at least double, if not triple - sigh. So would I really save money if I bought these oversized volumes on the secondary market? I'm not sure I'd save enough to justify not purchasing directly from Folio.

Sad but true. Whether FS subsidises shipping and/or has a volume deal with parcel carriers, it's still a good value relatively speaking. Absolutely no way Canada Post would ever agree to ship that for only $27(!)

Or to put it another way: would I snub a giant of English literature just because he was silly enough to have PL published in an oversize folio edition the first time around that FS is replicating? I think not. (I also admit that I quite love Milton; I often force people to read him whenever they complain that they just can't get their head around Latin syntax, given how Milton wrote PL in English but heavily influenced by Latin syntax.)

Hope you guys end up buying it eventually - time heals all wounds (incurred by shipping costs), after all. Theoretically, anyways. ;)

Apr 17, 2015, 1:02pm Top

If it's any consolation, it is exactly the same in the opposite direction. I recently ordered two fine/fine Heritage Press volumes I'd been coveting for ages but which had never cropped up in the U.K., from a bookseller in New York, and the P&P (£12) cost more than both books (£8).

Edited: Apr 17, 2015, 6:44pm Top

The order i placed some time ago, is finally typoed as: in warehouse, as of this day .. and no longer as pending .. so, in the middle of next week i reckon, maybe add a couple of days more, then it`s here - the last folio for a while, i will use long time to open that package, not just rip it open as the predator i usually am ..

Apr 17, 2015, 6:48pm Top

>41 cronshaw:

Indeed! It's all relative in the end, but long as I get the books I want, I'm a happy bibliophile!

Apr 20, 2015, 1:26am Top

Still waiting for mine to arrive - with much anticipation!

Apr 21, 2015, 4:14pm Top

Received my copy yesterday. I found the size initially quite disconcerting, especially the typeface, but after some browsing, am getting used to it. I'm not a fan of large books (I'm seriously considering the disposing of those I currently own, including a non-limited edition Kelmscott and a First Folio facsimile) - and might have hesitated if I'd clicked that these were over 12" tall - but they are in actuality more handleable than I would have anticipated, and are already growing on me. The mezzotints are superb - absolutely perfect to accompany the text, and the binding has a certain understatedness which strongly appeals to me. Overall, I really like the way these volumes have been presented.
The commentary is something else that will take a bit of getting use to: it's not exactly easy reading working out what he's saying, but there's no doubting the depth of information there once I finally work out how to read this alongside Paradise Lost without losing the rhythm of the latter - which is half the enjoyment.

Apr 21, 2015, 5:07pm Top

>45 Willoyd:

Congratulations, I'm glad you're finding the presentation so agreeable: I think I will too. Could you confirm please how the commentary is presented? I've been thinking that the commentary volume, as with the Letterpress Shakespeare, must surely itself contain the full text of the work in a modestly sized font with extensive footnotes, rather than being solely a commentary. I hope that's the case, as otherwise the prospect of only being able to use the commentary in constant conjunction with the main volume, given their size, might be deterrent enough to stop me buying.

Apr 21, 2015, 6:01pm Top

>46 terebinth: good question and point

Apr 22, 2015, 10:40pm Top

I was reading the literature on this today, and while the full leaflet says quarter buckram, the intro letter says quarter leather... so perhaps this was the original idea and it was shelved...?

Apr 23, 2015, 10:48am Top

>45 Willoyd: via >48 EclecticIndulgence: is the spine binding leather or buckram?

Apr 23, 2015, 10:52am Top

Gotta be quarter buckram, if the pricing on their quarter-leather offerings is any indication.

Apr 24, 2015, 3:13pm Top

>46 terebinth: Sorry to be the harbinger of disappointing news, but the commentary is simply that, with no text - still some 300+ pages.

>49 ultrarightist: As JustinTChan rightly surmised, they are quarter buckram.

Apr 24, 2015, 4:08pm Top

>51 Willoyd:

Thank you: I'm not too disappointed that I probably won't be buying a third Folio edition of Paradise Lost (particularly after I yielded at the eleventh hour to purchase of the Rupert Brooke LE before its introductory offer expired). I'll give serious consideration to the Longman edition with Fowler's notes when I'm next drawn to Milton, to furnish the alternative experience of a fully annotated reading I just can't see me securing by maneuvering two mighty volumes at once.

Apr 28, 2015, 3:42am Top

An online annotated version of Paradise Lost can be found here:


I, too, was hoping that the new Folio Society edition followed a similar format.

May I ask, if the commentary volume does not include the poem, how is the commentary presented? Does it address the poem line by line, or is it simply a collection of essays that explore the work as a whole? I was prepared to purchase these volumes, but I prefer annotations that directly enrich the reading experience.

Apr 28, 2015, 4:12am Top

>53 goingbyebye: From what I recall seeing it in the dMR the bulk of the commentary volume examines the poem very closely, almost line by line, explaining and enlarging upon vocabulary, context and Milton's numerous allusions. I don't know if there are also essays, but the commentary is very detailed and appears to comprise more text than the poem itself.

Apr 28, 2015, 7:15pm Top

I just received mine and it's beautiful. Well worth the money. However, mine has this strange crease in the spine. Should i be worried about such a minor imperfection? Am I being pedantic? Or would some of you contact FS?

(Please see link for picture)

Apr 28, 2015, 7:57pm Top

>55 d-b:

If it bugs you enough, contact FS. They'll happily send you a replacement, and you can give the defective copy away. If it doesn't bother you enough to justify bugging FS, let it be.

I'd have to see the set in person, but based on that photo, I probably wouldn't bug FS, but then again I'm used to seeing creases in academic books so take my comments with a grain or two of salt.

Apr 28, 2015, 10:26pm Top

>55 d-b: If it were an LE, I would send it back; if it were a standard edition, I'd keep it without a complaint; as it is a Fine edition, I would have to see it in person. There is definitely a shelf appeal element here.

Edited: Apr 28, 2015, 11:07pm Top


I agree with you - i'd never consider sending it back if it were a normal edition. However, after shipping to Australia Paradise Lost was $300 dollars. The crease just looks irksome next to its neighbours and for that money I expect a decent unblemished copy. For comparison I received two hardbacks from Princeton UP today ($60 each), and they look nicer than the Folio book.

Apr 28, 2015, 11:07pm Top

>58 d-b:

Ask FS for a replacement, then. They'll cover shipping, so I'd do it if it bugs you enough, particularly as you rightly point out this isn't a standard edition.

Hoping my copy arrives here intact!

Apr 29, 2015, 5:46am Top

>54 cronshaw:

Thank you for the information. It seems this set may indeed be an inevitable purchase for me.

Apr 30, 2015, 6:20pm Top

It's inevitable for me too. I've wanted Paradise Lost for ages, and the commentary seals it for me. I love the whole presentation; colours, images, it looks really lovely.

Edited: May 6, 2015, 12:29pm Top

Just wrapped it open:

Lovely, huge volume - buy it, if you may - a true fine volume, indeed!

Standing besides faerie queene .. it will take years (months) to target this .. (at least for me, not so known with the poem, but very familiar with the title - and beeing maybe britains most well known/greatest poem - it`s a must read!

May 24, 2016, 9:53am Top

I don't think I'm going to get round to reading my unopened copy; I just have too much on my plate right now, and my TBR pile is ridiculous. Anyone in the US looking to pick it up for less than the published price should send me a private message.

May 24, 2016, 3:52pm Top

I should add: I'm willing to double box, and use lots and lots of bubble wrap. It would pain me to see it damaged in the mail!

May 25, 2016, 4:58pm Top

I am happy to wait six weeks for a firm commitment from a fellow US-based Devotee before listing it on eBay for a higher price -- so if you are reading this message in or after mid-July and also see it on eBay, please private message me here rather than on eBay so I can offer a lower price.

May 26, 2016, 6:59am Top

Man, I know how you feel. I have a copy that I haven't opened yet either, and on the one hand, boy do I want to look at it, on the other, I want to keep it in good condition till I get round to actually reading it. I'm tempted to just start getting 2 copies from Folio, a reading and a collecting copy, but then I realize I can't spend that much, forget about store that much!

May 19, 5:02pm Top

>45 Willoyd: "I found the size initially quite disconcerting, especially the typeface"

Just to clarify: You thought the type was too large?

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