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Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained (Signet…

Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained (Signet Classics (Paperback)) (edição: 1968)

de John Milton

Séries: Milton's Paradise (1-2)

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2,32196,729 (4)244
Presents seventeenth-century British poet John Milton's classic epic poems "Paradise Lost" and "Paradise Regained," along with a scholarly introduction, a Milton chronology, and a selected bibliography.
Título:Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained (Signet Classics (Paperback))
Autores:John Milton
Informação:Signet Classics (1968), Paperback, 400 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
Etiquetas:john milton, epic poetry, paradise lost, paradise regained

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Paradise Lost & Paradise Regained de John Milton


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Mostrando 1-5 de 9 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
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 | Mar 29, 2024 |
Interesting story behind this: I went into Strand hoping to find either a cheap, used copy of the Norton Critical Edition of Frankenstein or an even cheaper copy of Paradise Lost with decent notes. I was more interested in the former than the latter, which is only tangential research for my current story project. I couldn’t find a single Norton Critical Edition and the copies of Paradise Lost cost way more than I was willing to spend on a whim. Fortunately, I took the long way out of the store and happened by the shelf of cheap old mass market paperbacks…which included this copy of the book for less than $4. Score!

I took an interesting approach to reading this: I was doing so with Frankenstein’s creation in mind. He’s a big fan of Paradise Lost and sympathizes with God, Adam, and Satan—a bit more the latter, though he’s achingly aware of how far from perfect the comparison is (most heartbreakingly, because even Satan was not alone when he fell). I loved the moments in Nick Dear’s theatrical adaptation when he quoted the book and, well, I had other reasons:

• I’ve wanted to read Paradise Lost since I first read Frankenstein as a freshman in high school, and one of my great college tragedies was not fitting Professor Stephen’s course on the book into my schedule.
• I like to challenge myself by reading something difficult at least once a year.
• At the time I went looking for the book, I had not yet fixed my computer—I was fresh out of a sprint through Shakespeare’s Henry VI/Richard III series and figured that, since I was so steeped in the language style, it would be a good time to go for it.

One more note before I get into my “review” proper. I was talking with my parents about my reading so far over Columbus Day weekend (I think I’d only read a chapter or two) when one of them asked how hard I found it to separate faith from self-aware fiction. The question surprised me—regardless of my beliefs, it simply hadn’t occurred to me that some might struggle to appreciate Milton’s work without the context of their own religious views. I guess I’ve always been good at distinguishing sets of realities from one another. When I took a course on the New Testament in college, I wasn’t naïve enough to think that it wouldn’t impact my religious understanding, but talking about the imperfect translations and gnostic gospels never troubled me as much as it did a friend who believed very deeply. Without even thinking about it, in both these cases, I approached fact as fact and fiction as fiction while leaving the bits that might impact my personal faith for consideration at a different time.

So when I talk about Paradise Lost, I’m talking only about Paradise Lost—I’m not making statements about the Bible or any of the religions that draw on it. It’s my tendency to spot holes and be irreverent, especially with things that I enjoy (like this book), but I don’t want anyone to mistake these comments as applying to anything more than these pages.

So, with that said, shall I start with how much I sympathized with Satan? Guy’s one of the top angels in heaven when God’s like, “Hey y’all, here’s me #2. He’s awesome and obviously my favorite, so you all have to obey him now.” And Satan, well, he’s not so thrilled with this whole new nepotism thing when he’d been doing pretty well in the meritocracy. Can you blame him, as a character, for being disgruntled? This is, in fact, the kind of thing that has started actual wars, something that still happens (albeit on a much smaller scale).

Plus, well, Milton starts out with him, with his fall and his fight to survive and settle his forces in Hell—and the visuals are really cool. He’s our main character, he’s working hard, he’s listening to his followers, and he’s the only one brave enough to take action to change the situation. In a lot of ways, he’s what we expect in heroes in our modern stories. Of course, as Milton keeps reminding us, he is, you know, the devil.

It’s an interesting move to start out with Satan, follow his flight out of Hell, and only then see Earth and Eden, Adam and Eve and the angels. All of Satan’s battle with heaven is told in flashback, recounted to Adam and Eve by an angel sent to warn them that the devil is probably going to try something (more on that later). Having read all those essays in the Norton Critical Edition of Frankenstein, I was keenly aware of the narrative framing, though it was less obviously nested (in part, I think, because it is a poem and we expect lots of verbal and narrative play in poems).

But forget the narrative structure for a moment—that battle is freakin’ awesome! The whole book is full of fantastic descriptions and crystal-clear imagery, describing the kinds of things that wow us when we go to see films by Chris Nolan or James Cameron. It’s incredibly cinematic.

Take, for example, one of my favorite parts: the second day of the battle between good and evil in Heaven. Satan’s army suffered a terrible rout the first day, so he essentially invents the cannon overnight. The Angels aren’t expecting this, and their armor makes them too heavy to dodge the missiles…so they start tearing it off to give themselves room to move and use their extensive power. Since they can’t attach the cannons head-on, they pull up the hills and fling them onto the cannons and their crews. But again, the demons don’t die, so they fight their miserably painful way out from under the mounds and, when their cannons are no match, return fire in kind. The hills of heaven go flying through the air, crashing into each other. Tell me that isn’t something you wouldn’t be surprised to see in the next Avatar movie!

Of course, there’s also the language element. I struggled surprisingly little—most of the really difficult vocabulary had notes, and what didn’t was almost always obvious by context (though I did start noting down words after a while). But the really remarkable thing was that almost every line had a word that could be interpreted in at least two different ways.

Take this random line I opened to: “Gentle to me and affable hath been / Thy Condescension” (VIII:648-649), said by Adam to an angel who’s been speaking with him. “Gentle” can mean “calm” and “careful”, but it can also refer to the angel’s nobility of being and bearing, since “gentle” was used as shorthand for “gentleman” and “gentlewoman”. “Condescension” refers not only to Adam’s feeling that the angel has humbled himself by speaking to a later-made, lesser being, but to the fact that the angel literally came down from Heaven to speak to Adam on earth, at his level. And those were just the two most obvious ones to jump out at me!

When I expressed my awe that this hadn’t been made into a movie to a coworker who’d also read it, we said almost simultaneously that it would be such a shame that the language, the most remarkable element of the poem, would be lost.

Of course, as the poem goes on, we get to meet Adam…and Eve. And then we approach the fall and the sexism gets worse and worse. Keeping in mind that last pre-review caveat, I couldn’t help thinking that God was more than a bit of a jerk. Mister all-seeing knew exactly what would happen and how and why and he still didn’t say to his messenger, “Hey, maybe instead of dismissing Eve after she serves you lunch, you should talk to her specifically about why the devil is after humanity.” And he tests Adam and Eve’s obedience/goodness without giving them knowledge of good and evil. Without that, how is Eve to recognize that this talking snake might be more than it seems? And, really, you plant the tree of knowledge right next to the tree of life? Even humans don’t plant foxglove in the herb garden.

On top of all that, humanity gets the seriously short end of the stick after the fall. Satan was hunting them down to lead them astray, deliberately goading them to break God’s rule, using all his super-human (if sub-angelic) power to trick them, and what does he get? Thousands’ of years’ rule in Hell, the run of the earth, and a couple days as a snake each year. What do Adam and Eve get? Mortality, pain and hard labor, removal of easy conversation with God and his messengers, no one fighting to protect them from supernatural harm, banishment from paradise, all of their unborn descendants equally cursed, and the hatred of the aforementioned. Every time Adam and Eve think it can’t get worse, it does. With the deck so heavily stacked against them, why should their punishment be so harsh?

The failure of internal logic is interesting, because a modern fictional take would probably work to close those gaps. Milton, of course, doesn’t try. That’s not the point.

I did get annoyed with Milton in a few places for more ordinary narrative sins. Paradise Lost is, essentially, a work of fan fiction, and commits one of my pet peeves when he narrates a few sections of exposition almost word-for-word from the Bible. And it’s not just a shout-out, “And it was good”—it’s verses at a time. This is especially annoying in the final two books, which are basically Cliff Notes for the Bible. After all the gorgeous original work he did, getting this shoehorned highlights tour kind of kills the momentum. I actually compared it to the epilogue of the seventh Harry Potter: yeah, I guess I see why it’s there, but narratively it would have been better off ending earlier.

But Milton’s not just out to tell a story, he’s telling one of THE stories that shaped the Christianized world. Narrative coherence is not at the top of his agenda.

I’m going to cut this review short, since there will be quite a few quotes with commentary, plus I want to squeeze in my vocab. Thanks for sticking with me this far! I loved reading this, and if you’re into Shakespeare and Homer, you’ll probably like this, too.

Quote Roundup is on Tumblr, since I broke the Goodreads character limit like woah. ( )
  books-n-pickles | Oct 29, 2021 |
I should read poetry more often. However, just fyi, I didn't have time to read the second epic. I only read about the losing of paradise. And that, my friends, is worthy of the "classic" label. ( )
  OutOfTheBestBooks | Sep 24, 2021 |
Thou Spirit who ledd'st this glorious Eremite
Into the Desert...
As thou art wont, my prompted Song else mute...
to tell of deeds
Above Heroic, though in secret done...

The Tempter who once deceived humankind in the Garden of Eden is back, generations later, to tempt the Son of God in the wilderness in Paradise Regained by John Milton.

I read the preceding epic poem, Paradise Lost, some years ago and finally read its coda here for the first time. That is, I initially didn't know it was more of a coda and was thus surprised to find it so much shorter than the first poem, which is, of course, the length of a novel.

I now have a better idea of why Paradise Lost so often stands alone. It involves more characters and does tell more of an epic story, sweeping between heaven and earth with terrestrial business and celestial war.

Still, the poetess in me was again absorbed in Milton's way with verse.

"Yet he who reigns within himself, and rules
Passions, Desires, and Fears, is more a King;
Which every wise and virtuous man attains:
And who attains not, ill aspires to rule
Cities of men...
Subject himself to Anarchy within..."

Though I'll admit I got more of a thrill watching the Son as the dominant warrior in the first poem, it was also great listening to him outwit his artful adversary here. Then, after his deeds Above Heroic done before none but an audience of praising angels, what else does the Son do but have a meal, leave the site of triumph, and privately head back to his mother's house?

Hm. What else indeed.

"...and now thou hast aveng'd
Supplanted Adam, and by vanquishing
Temptation, hast regain'd lost Paradise...
on thy glorious work
Now enter, and begin to save mankind."
( )
  NadineC.Keels | Jan 1, 2019 |
struggle to try to read this. It is a hard style. It might be better to listen to, or read slowly out loud (which doesn't work while eating). ( )
  nx74defiant | Mar 12, 2017 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Milton, Johnautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Ricks, ChristopherEditorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Tromly, Frederic B.Introduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Informação do Conhecimento Comum em inglês. Edite para a localizar na sua língua.
Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste
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, Heavenly 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 heavens and earth
Rose out of Chaos: or, if Shion hill
Delight thee more and, and Siloa's brook that flowed
Fast by the oracle of God, I thence
Invoke thy aid to my adventrous song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above the Aonian mount, while it pursues
Thing unattempted yet in prose of rhyme.
Informação do Conhecimento Comum em inglês. Edite para a localizar na sua língua.
Free, and to none accountable, preferring
Hard liberty before the easy yoke
Of servile pomp.
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Presents seventeenth-century British poet John Milton's classic epic poems "Paradise Lost" and "Paradise Regained," along with a scholarly introduction, a Milton chronology, and a selected bibliography.

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