John Milton, Paradise Lost

Albert Labriola (Duquesne University)
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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 Adam and Eve and their expulsion from Eden. The epic ends with two…

4877 words

Citation: Labriola, Albert. "Paradise Lost". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 15 November 2004 [, accessed 14 April 2024.]

2924 Paradise Lost 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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