Review: Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained by John Milton

The Creation of Man by John Baptist Medina (an engraving).
John Melton, an English poet began writing Paradise Lost in 1658 and finished 1663. It was published 1667. It is an epic poem in blank verse. It is an English Heroic Verse without rhyme.
Paradise Regained is didactic and not a sequel to Paradise Lost. Paradise Regained was published 1671.
Paradise Lost was and is still controversial. People did as I did and pre-judged and judged. After reading Paradise Lost they forgot (the fact) it was fictional, not Biblical. Yes, John Melton did base his epic poem on the rebellion and fall of Satan, the fall of man, creation, the Creator God, man's alienation from God because of the fall of sin (which God permitted). * It is still fiction.
Paradise Regained is a didactic poem, dealing with the Temptation of Christ.

Paradise Lost:
I want to reiterate what I stated above in the brief synopsis. There has been controversy and debate over Paradise Lost since it was first published. Some believe Milton was a Satanist, or tried to slice and dice the Genesis story. Maybe I missed something because I did not see this.
This is a work of fiction. It was also written in the 1600's, not 2012.
I do not believe Milton was a Satanist, nor do I believe his aim was to discredit the Bible.
I believe he wrote his epic poem because he felt led to write a poem on the garden of Eden, creation, Satan's demise and fall, the temptation in the garden, humans fall in to sin. In his creative intelligent mind he wanted to understand better through the writing of this poem these events. In my copy which is by Signet, the editor wrote, "Milton tries to explain in human terms what is only possible in and from God. He explains by what he knows and has heard, not what God has revealed to us from His Word."

Why is this an epic poem?
  • I believe it is epic in the broad scope of subjects. 
  • It is epic in the reactions (controversy) from readers. 
  • It is epic in its continuity of being known as one of the greatest writings in the English language. 
  • It is epic because it has stood the test of the ages.
Most of the poem I thought was: interesting, vivid, dramatic.
More than anything else what stood out to me was the planning and great ambition Satan has to destroy mankind. His goal is always to discredit God, and to make us question God's goodness.

My favorite quote from this poem.
"So should thy goodness and thy greatness both
Be question'd and blasphem'd without defence.
To whom the great Creator thus repli'd.
'O Son, in whom my Soul hath chief delight,
Son of my bosom, Son who art alone
My word, my wisdom, and effectual might,
All hast thou spok'n as my thoughts are, all
As my Eternal purpose hath decreed:
Man shall not quite be lost, but sav'd who will,
Yet not of will in him, but grace in me'" Book III 165-174. 

Paradise Regained:
This is a much shorter poem. I almost felt it was over-shadowed by Paradise Lost. It could easily be ignored.
My favorite quote from this poem, which in fact completes the ending of Paradise Lost. 
"So spake the Son of God; but Satan now quite at a loss, for all his darts were spent," Book IV 365. 

Am I glad I read these poems?
Of course! Not only can I reply when asked if I've read them---yes. I can also relate when I read other writers remark on these books (in their own books).
I feel my mind has been broadened, I've tackled head-on an epic poem with an epic history to match.
I'm more familiar with John Melton.
I'm more familiar with literature from the 1600's.
I've read for myself this controversial piece and can have an opinion on it that disagrees with it being heretical.

C.S. Lewis wrote a book A Preface to Paradise Lost.
Link @ Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Preface-Paradise-Lost-C-S-Lewis/dp/0195003454/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1352129005&sr=8-1&keywords=paradise+lost+preface+by+C.S+Lewis
Paperback $22.85
143 pages, Oxford University Press 1961
At Amazon the book gets a near 5 star review.

Another blogger with a post on Paradise Lost. 
http://schriftman.wordpress.com/2008/11/09/c-s-lewis-on-paradise-lost/

Published by Signet Classic originally in 1968, republished 2010
400 pages
Epic Poem/English Heroic Verse Without Rhyme/English Literature/Classic Literature/Back To The Classics Challenge/ The Classics Club/ Classic Literature Challenge/Didactic.
Link @ Publisher:
http://us.penguingroup.com/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9780451531643,00.html?strSrchSql=Paradise+Lost+and+Paradise+Regained/Paradise_Lost_and_Paradise_Regained_John_Milton#

Link @ Amazon and the price of paperback is $3.99, Kindle price is $1.99:
http://www.amazon.com/Paradise-Lost-Regained-Signet-classics/dp/0451517350/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1348762276&sr=8-3&keywords=paradise+lost+and+paradise+regained+signet+classics

For a free copy of John Milton's The Poetical Works @ Project Gutenberg:
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1745

Comments

  1. I also don't agree with those who think that Milton was a Satanist. It's true that Satan is described not as "pure evil" but as a person. I think Milton just wants to show that we all have to make our choices. Adam, Eve, and Satan are just examples of those who chose the wrong decisions.

    "I made him just and right,
    Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.
    Such I created all th’ Ethereal Powers
    And Spirits, both them who stood and them who faild;
    Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell
    ....
    They therefore as to right belongd,
    So were created, nor can justly accuse
    Thir maker, or thir making, or thir Fate,
    As if predestination over-ruld
    Thir will,"

    So I think he was not trying to make Satan looks good, but he's trying to say that Satan was not created evil.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Another nice review...thanks.

    Stopping by from Carole's November Books I Loved. I am in that list as #2.

    Elizabeth
    Silver's Reviews
    http://silversolara.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. thanks for linking this in to Books You Loved. Have a lovely week.

    ReplyDelete

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