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John Milton (1) (1608–1674)

Author of Paradise Lost

For other authors named John Milton, see the disambiguation page.

706+ Works 30,777 Members 216 Reviews 38 Favorited

About the Author

John Milton, English scholar and classical poet, is one of the major figures of Western literature. He was born in 1608 into a prosperous London family. By the age of 17, he was proficient in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. Milton attended Cambridge University, earning a B.A. and an M.A. before secluding show more himself for five years to read, write and study on his own. It is believed that Milton read evertything that had been published in Latin, Greek, and English. He was considered one of the most educated men of his time. Milton also had a reputation as a radical. After his own wife left him early in their marriage, Milton published an unpopular treatise supporting divorce in the case of incompatibility. Milton was also a vocal supporter of Oliver Cromwell and worked for him. Milton's first work, Lycidas, an elegy on the death of a classmate, was published in 1632, and he had numerous works published in the ensuing years, including Pastoral and Areopagitica. His Christian epic poem, Paradise Lost, which traced humanity's fall from divine grace, appeared in 1667, assuring his place as one of the finest non-dramatic poet of the Renaissance Age. Milton went blind at the age of 43 from the incredible strain he placed on his eyes. Amazingly, Paradise Lost and his other major works, Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes, were composed after the lost of his sight. These major works were painstakingly and slowly dictated to secretaries. John Milton died in 1674. (Bowker Author Biography) show less


Works by John Milton

Paradise Lost (1667) 13,963 copies
Paradise Lost and Other Poems (1943) 1,107 copies
The Major Works (1991) 432 copies
The Portable Milton (1949) 397 copies
Areopagitica (1644) 362 copies
Paradise Regained (1671) 320 copies
Selected Poems (1993) 242 copies
The Riverside Milton (1998) 232 copies
Samson Agonistes (1957) 221 copies
John Milton: Selected Prose (1974) 138 copies
The Mask of Comus (1634) 130 copies
Paradise Lost: A Graphic Novel (2012) — Original author — 78 copies
L'Allegro (1903) 66 copies
Minor Poems by Milton (1900) 57 copies
Prose Writings (1847) 56 copies
The Student's Milton (1933) 56 copies
Milton (1950) 49 copies
Milton: Political Writings (1991) 40 copies
Milton's prose (1925) 37 copies
Milton's Prose Writings (1698) 33 copies
The prose of John Milton (1970) 29 copies
Milton's Poems (1880) 24 copies
Lycidas (1961) 24 copies
Prose Selections (1947) 23 copies
Paradise lost : books IX-X (1964) 23 copies
Milton's Sonnets (1966) 19 copies
Paradise Lost: Book One (1945) 14 copies
Milton 13 copies
Comus and Other Poems (1972) 12 copies
Paradise lost : books V-VI (1975) 10 copies
Milton (1977) 10 copies
English Poems Comus 1645 (1968) 9 copies
The Essential Milton (1969) 9 copies
Choice of Verse (1975) 8 copies
Sansone Agonista, Sonetti (1977) 8 copies
Soneto. Sanson agonista (1977) 7 copies
Eikonoklastes (1690) 7 copies
Trattato dell'educazione (2018) 6 copies
Milton's Minor Poems (1900) 6 copies
The Poems of John Milton (1936) 5 copies
Lycidas, Sonnets, (1904) 4 copies
L'Allegro 4 copies
Milton : minor poems 1901 [Hardcover] (1901) — Author — 4 copies
Of Education (1644) 4 copies
Yitirilen Cennet (2021) 4 copies
Paradise Lost: Bk. 9 & 10 (1979) 3 copies
On Shakespeare 3 copies
Poder da tradução, O (1993) 3 copies
Complete Works 3 copies
Jon Milton [Little Masterpieces] (2015) — Author — 3 copies
Selected Poems 3 copies
Il Penseroso 2 copies
Uccidere il tiranno (2011) 2 copies
The Passion 2 copies
Miltons Poetical Works (1930) 2 copies
Poems (1970) 2 copies
The History of Britain (1991) 2 copies
Poems (1910) 2 copies
PARADISE LOST - BOOK IV. (1974) 2 copies
a common-place book (1877) 2 copies
Paradise Lost a poem (2018) 1 copy
Elegies 1 copy
Colasterion 1 copy
Poems of 1645 (1975) 1 copy
Paradise lost; a concordance — Contributor — 1 copy
Fix Here 1 copy
Sonnet 01 1 copy
Sonnet 10 1 copy
Sonnet 09 1 copy
Sonnet 08 1 copy
Sonnet 07 1 copy
Sonnet 06 1 copy
Sonnet 05 1 copy
Sonnet 04 1 copy
Sonnet 03 1 copy
Sonnet 02 1 copy
Canzone 1 copy
Arcades 1 copy
Psalm 136 1 copy
Sonnet 11 1 copy
Psalm 06 1 copy
Psalm 88 1 copy
Psalm 87 1 copy
Psalm 86 1 copy
Psalm 85 1 copy
Psalm 84 1 copy
Psalm 83 1 copy
Psalm 82 1 copy
Psalm 81 1 copy
Psalm 80 1 copy
Psalm 08 1 copy
Psalm 07 1 copy
Psalm 05 1 copy
Sonnet 12 1 copy
Psalm 04 1 copy
Psalm 03 1 copy
Psalm 02 1 copy
Psalm 01 1 copy
Sonnet 19 1 copy
Sonnet 18 1 copy
Sonnet 17 1 copy
Sonnet 16 1 copy
Sonnet 15 1 copy
Sonnet 14 1 copy
Sonnet 13 1 copy
Poems of Milton (1902) 1 copy
Milton's 1645 Poems (1645) 1 copy
Psalms (2014) 1 copy
Four poems 1 copy
Ljutsifer (2000) 1 copy
Milton's shorter poems (2012) 1 copy
Select Minor Poems (1900) 1 copy
Various 1 copy
Milton's Prose Works (1883) 1 copy
Works of John Milton (2013) 1 copy
Works 1 copy
A Selection of Poems (1953) 1 copy
Milton's Lycidas (1902) 1 copy
Milton - Minor Poems (1908) 1 copy
Five Works by Milton (2013) 1 copy

Associated Works

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (1589) — Contributor, some editions — 31,823 copies
One Hundred and One Famous Poems (1916) — Contributor, some editions — 1,954 copies
The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms (2000) — Contributor — 1,266 copies
The Metaphysical Poets (1957) — Contributor — 936 copies
Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama (1995) — Contributor, some editions — 925 copies
The Best Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis (2001) — Contributor — 548 copies
A Treasury of the World's Best Loved Poems (1961) — Contributor — 524 copies
The Penguin Book of Renaissance Verse: 1509-1659 (1992) — Contributor — 286 copies
Doré's Illustrations for "Paradise Lost" (1866) — Contributor — 213 copies
Seventeenth-Century Prose and Poetry (1929) — Author, some editions — 211 copies
The genius of the early English theater (1962) — Contributor — 167 copies
The Faber Book of Beasts (1997) — Contributor — 141 copies
The Oxford Book of Villains (1992) — Contributor — 136 copies
A Literary Christmas: An Anthology (2013) — Contributor — 136 copies
Major British Writers, Volumes I and II (1954) — Contributor — 122 copies
The Standard Book of British and American Verse (1932) — Contributor — 116 copies
The Penguin Book of Dragons (2021) — Contributor — 115 copies
Comus (1996) — Original Story — 82 copies
Wolf's Complete Book of Terror (1979) — Contributor — 76 copies
The Everyman Anthology of Poetry for Children (1994) — Contributor — 72 copies
A Book of Narrative Verse (1930) — Contributor — 64 copies
Puritanism and Liberty (1938) — Contributor — 54 copies
Poetry of Witness: The Tradition in English, 1500-2001 (2014) — Contributor — 42 copies
Poems of Faith (2002) — Contributor — 42 copies
Classic Essays in English (1961) — Contributor — 22 copies
Masters of British Literature, Volume A (2007) — Contributor — 21 copies
Fairy Poems (2023) — Contributor — 15 copies
Classic Hymns & Carols (2012) — Contributor — 15 copies
Christmas classics: A treasury for Latter-Day Saints (1995) — Contributor — 14 copies
Spring World, Awake: Stories, Poems, and Essays (1970) — Contributor — 9 copies
Poetry anthology (2000) — Contributor, some editions — 6 copies
The Blinded Soldiers and Sailors Gift Book (1915) — Contributor — 6 copies
Popular Poetry - Popular Verse Volume I (1994) — Contributor — 5 copies
The Children's Own Treasure Book (1947) — Contributor — 2 copies


16th century (328) 17th century (996) anthology (1,138) British (527) British literature (633) Christianity (322) classic (1,385) classic literature (296) classics (1,880) collection (358) comedy (210) drama (2,597) England (306) English (575) English literature (1,217) English poetry (226) epic (405) epic poetry (240) fiction (2,795) hardcover (326) history (208) John Milton (191) Kindle (213) literature (2,765) Milton (405) non-fiction (360) own (291) play (474) plays (1,859) poems (225) poetry (9,143) read (295) reference (275) religion (573) Renaissance (293) theatre (860) to-read (1,733) tragedy (202) unread (302) William Shakespeare (2,766)

Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Milton, John
Date of death
Burial location
St. Giles' Church without Cripplegate, London, England
Country (for map)
England, UK
Bread Street, Cheapside, London, England
Place of death
Bunhill, London, England
Cause of death
Places of residence
London, England
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England
Christ's College, Cambridge University (BA|1629|MA|1632)
St Paul's School, London, England
man of letters
civil servant
Milton, John (father)
Commonwealth of England
Short biography
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 (1667), written in blank verse.

John Milton (9 December 1608 – 8 November 1674) was an English poet and intellectual who served as a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under its Council of State and later under Oliver Cromwell. He wrote at a time of religious flux and political upheaval, and is best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost (1667), written in blank verse, and widely considered to be one of the greatest works of literature ever written.

Writing in English, Latin, Greek, and Italian, he achieved international renown within his lifetime; his celebrated Areopagitica (1644), written in condemnation of pre-publication censorship, is among history's most influential and impassioned defences of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. His desire for freedom extended into his style: he introduced new words (coined from Latin and Ancient Greek) to the English language, and was the first modern writer to employ unrhymed verse outside of the theatre or translations.

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 (often on account of his republicanism). Samuel Johnson praised Paradise Lost as "a poem which...with respect to design may claim the first place, and with respect to performance, the second, among the productions of the human mind", though he (a Tory and recipient of royal patronage) described Milton's politics as those of an "acrimonious and surly republican". Poets such as William Blake, William Wordsworth and Thomas Hardy revered him.



How did you manage to read Paradise Lost? in Poetry Fool (August 2021)
John Milton in Philosophy and Theory (May 2016)
Milton? in Book talk (December 2015)
GROUP DISCUSSION: Milton's Paradise Lost in 75 Books Challenge for 2012 (November 2012)
John Milton in Philosophy and Theory (May 2007)


Paradise Lost by John Milton

Print: originally: 1667, 9/15/2005; Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 3rd ed.; ISBN 978-0872207349; 496 pages. 12 books/parts
Digital: Yes
Audio: 1/01/1993; Blackstone Publishing; Duration 9:01:42; Unabridged 12 Books/10 parts
Feature Film or tv: In 2012 an anticipated production starring Bradley Cooper as Lucifer was shut down..


Major characters:
Arch-angel Michael
Arch-angel Raphael

Blank verse epic poem.
Yes, of course it’s good. I especially enjoyed the beauty of some of the imagery, as in:
“How from that Saphire Fount the crisped Brooks,
Rowling on Orient Pearl and sands of Gold,
With mazie error under pendant shades
Ran Nectar, visiting each plant, and fed
Flours worthy of Paradise which not nice Art
In Beds and curious Knots, but Nature boon
Powrd forth profuse on Hill and Dale and Plaine,”

But yeah. I was able to follow and understand the references for brief spells and then my attention would wander. So, I’d have to say that I didn’t find it that easy to follow in audiobook format, especially with this version, where the dulcet tones of Ralph Cosham’s voice are lulling—rendering it a great book to fall asleep to, but not so much a good listen for trying to follow the gist. It requires more concentration than I can actively produce for an audiobook so I’ll have to read the print in its entirety to do it any kind of justice.

John Milton. Dec. 9, 1608 – Nov. 8, 1674. According to the initial paragraph in Wikipedia on John, he “was an English poet and intellectual who served as a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under its Council of State and later under Oliver Cromwell. He wrote at a time of religious flux and political upheaval, and is best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost (1667). Written in blank verse, Paradise Lost is widely considered to be one of the greatest works of literature ever written.[1]”

Ralph Cosham (Feb 25, 1936-Sept. 30, 2014). According to the initial paragraph in Wikipedia on Ralph, he “was a British-born American film, stage and voice actor and book narrator. Cosham also recorded under the name Geoffrey Howard.[2] He lived in Reston, Virginia. He was a member of the acting companies of the Washington Theatre Club, the Folger Shakespeare Library, Arena Stage and The Shakespeare Theater all in Washington, DC.[3] Cosham changed careers from British journalist to actor in the 1970s.[2] Several of his works were awarded "Audio Best of the Year" by Publishers Weekly.[2]”

Classics; Poetry; Fiction; Literature; Religion; Fantasy; Philosophy

Heaven, Hell, Eden

In the Beginning

Evil; Paradise; Fallen angels; Transgression; Adam & Eve; Original Sin; Fall From Grace


SAMPLE QUOTATION: (From the Gutenberg Project’s 10/1991 eBook #20 version)
From Book 1:
“Of Mans First Disobedience, and the Fruit
Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal tast
Brought Death into the World, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful Seat,
Sing Heav’nly Muse, that on the secret top
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
That Shepherd, who first taught the chosen Seed,
In the Beginning how the Heav’ns and Earth
Rose out of Chaos: Or if Sion Hill
Delight thee more, and Siloa’s Brook that flow’d
Fast by the Oracle of God; I thence
Invoke thy aid to my adventrous Song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above th’ Aonian Mount, while it pursues
Things unattempted yet in Prose or Rhime.
And chiefly Thou O Spirit, that dost prefer
Before all Temples th’ upright heart and pure,
Instruct me, for Thou know’st; Thou from the first
Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread
Dove-like satst brooding on the vast Abyss
And mad’st it pregnant: What in me is dark
Illumine, what is low raise and support;
That to the highth of this great Argument
I may assert th’ Eternal Providence,
And justifie the wayes of God to men.
Say first, for Heav’n hides nothing from thy view
Nor the deep Tract of Hell, say first what cause
Mov’d our Grand Parents in that happy State,
Favour’d of Heav’n so highly, to fall off
From their Creator, and transgress his Will
For one restraint, Lords of the World besides?
Who first seduc’d them to that fowl revolt?
Th’ infernal Serpent; he it was, whose guile
Stird up with Envy and Revenge, deceiv’d
The Mother of Mankinde, what time his Pride
Had cast him out from Heav’n, with all his Host
Of Rebel Angels, by whose aid aspiring
To set himself in Glory above his Peers,
He trusted to have equal’d the most High,
If he oppos’d; and with ambitious aim
Against the Throne and Monarchy of God
Rais’d impious War in Heav’n and Battel proud
With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power
Hurld headlong flaming from th’ Ethereal Skie
With hideous ruine and combustion down
To bottomless perdition, there to dwell
In Adamantine Chains and penal Fire,
Who durst defie th’ Omnipotent to Arms.
Nine times the Space that measures Day and Night
To mortal men, he with his horrid crew
Lay vanquisht, rowling in the fiery Gulfe
Confounded though immortal: But his doom
Reserv’d him to more wrath; for now the thought
Both of lost happiness and lasting pain
Torments him; round he throws his baleful eyes
That witness’d huge affliction and dismay
Mixt with obdurate pride and stedfast hate:
At once as far as Angels kenn he views
The dismal Situation waste and wilde,
A Dungeon horrible, on all sides round
As one great Furnace flam’d, yet from those flames
No light, but rather darkness visible
Serv’d only to discover sights of woe,
Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace
And rest can never dwell, hope never comes
That comes to all; but torture without end
Still urges, and a fiery Deluge, fed
With ever-burning Sulphur unconsum’d:
Such place Eternal Justice had prepar’d
For those rebellious, here their Prison ordain’d
In utter darkness, and their portion set
As far remov’d from God and light of Heav’n
As from the Center thrice to th’ utmost Pole.
O how unlike the place from whence they fell!
There the companions of his fall, o’rewhelm’d
With Floods and Whirlwinds of tempestuous fire,
He soon discerns, and weltring by his side
One next himself in power, and next in crime,
Long after known in Palestine, and nam’d
Beelzebub. To whom th’ Arch-Enemy,
And thence in Heav’n call’d Satan, with bold words
Breaking the horrid silence thus began..”

3 stars. I know. I know. Only three? For the best blank verse epic poem ever written? Well, I’ll get back to you after I’ve read the text myself.

3-4-2022 to 3-16-2022
… (more)
TraSea | 112 other reviews | Apr 29, 2024 |
I read this as part of what I call "a Book Challenge". I found people to read this with my daughter Diana and my son's girlfriend Maggie. It was interesting to hear their opinions about the book.
In preparation, we listened to several podcasts about the life of Milton. (The History of Literature: episodes 154, 376, and 484.) We learned that he was blind at the time he decided to write Paradise Lost- so he actually dictated the books to an assistant.
We decided that it would be best to read or listen to 2 Books at a time (there are 12). Then discuss them.

So Milton was influenced by his time- the beliefs, the social mores, the politics. Even so, we were able to discuss the plot points and quotations that interested us. Our discussions became very philosophical. We often mused whether we were projecting our modern beliefs on Milton's writing. As we were all raised Catholic, we also discussed religious influences as well as our interpretations of what was written as compared to what is in the religious texts. It became very metacognitive at times!

Some quotes we discussed:
"Better to reign in hell than serve in Heaven."

"The mind is its own place and in itself
Can make a Heaven of hell, and a hell of Heaven."

"Nor love thy life nor hate, but what thou liv'st
Live well- how long or short permit to Heaven."

It is worth reading. It becomes much more enjoyable to have a small group to encourage each other and to discuss the interesting ideas within the book. As a final enrichment, we all listened to the podcast "This American Life", episode 666- "The Theme that Shall not be Named" which is about
Satan! In his many surprising manifestations, all around us.
… (more)
Chrissylou62 | 112 other reviews | Apr 11, 2024 |
Highly derivative of previous authors' works. Predictable ending. Doesn't rhyme. Still probably the best epic poem in the English language (except perhaps Dryden's translation of the Iliad). Worth a read.
marc_beherec | 8 other reviews | Mar 29, 2024 |
Typically I am a purist in that I first read through material that I consider to be dense, then consult other sources to comprehend the material. After reading book 1. I think it advisable to do some background research before starting new books in PL. It is a bitter pill for me to swallow, but I think it is practical in this situation. Miltoning..

Using the version edited by Barbara Lewalski- on line . . Have a library loan NSE 3d? edition, and bought a personal copy of 2d edition from ebay.

Dartmouth edu has excellent cross referenced hyperlinks

Satan is a fascinating character with all his emotional conflicts, but he is much less prominent in the last few chapters.

God is also an interesting character w a rather non chalant? attitude toward his creations.

ix 232= Milton talking smack about females. Says woman's place is in the home basically. Book 9 is disturbing on many levels

chap x definite misogeny? regarding Eve

Finished the poem just short of 8 weeks. NCE #3 is invaluable in this endeavor. Really liked the CS Lewis essays in NCE
… (more)
delta351 | 112 other reviews | Jan 20, 2024 |


AP Lit (1)


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Associated Authors

William Wordsworth Contributor
David Masson Editor, Introduction
Northrop Frye Editor, Contributor
Stefan Salter Typography and cover design
Henry Morley Introduction, Editor
Richard Wilbur general editor
John Carey Editor
Henry Newbolt Introduction
Christopher Ricks Editor, Contributor
Harold Bloom Contributor
Philip Pullman Introduction
Michael Burghers Illustrator
John Wain Introduction
John T. Winterich Introduction
Peter Verstegen Translator
Simon Vance Narrator
Gustave Dore Illustrator
William Blake Illustrator, Contributor
Peter Paul Rubens Cover artist
Frederic B. Tromly Introduction
Virginia Woolf Contributor
Matthew Arnold Contributor
John Dryden Contributor
Frank Kermode Contributor
Janet E. Halley Contributor
Christopher Hill Contributor
Barbara Lewalski Contributor
Voltaire Contributor
Robert M. Adams Contributor
William Empson Contributor
John Keats Contributor
Alfred Tennyson Contributor
Samuel Johnson Contributor
Henry Lawes Music, Editor
Richard Eberhart Introduction
Henry Wootton Contributor
William Poole Introduction
M. R. H. Farrar Illustrator
Érico Assis Translator
Hendrik Hutter Translator
Angel Gurria Translator
John Alvis Foreword
Edmund Gosse Introduction
F. GORSE Editor
Birket Foster Illustrator


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½ 4.3

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