John Milton (1608-1674) composed Paradise Lost as his magnum opus, an epic of almost 11,000 lines. Though the dates of composition are uncertain, the work was published in ten books in 1667, then slightly revised and restructured into twelve books for the 1674 edition. At the behest of his printer, Milton in the later edition included prose arguments at the head of each book to provide a synopsis of the action, to identify major characters, and to facilitate the understanding of readers. The narrative begins with the defeat of Satan after his failed attempt to overthrow the godhead, follows him through the stages of his vengeful plot to subvert God's newest creation, humankind, and achieves its climax at the downfall of …
Labriola, Albert. "Paradise Lost". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 15 November 2004; last revised 30 November -1.
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=2924, accessed 25 April 2015.]