Author(s): John Milton
Paradise Lost By John Milton The protagonist of this Protestant epic is the fallen angel Satan. From a modern perspective it may appear that Milton presents Satan sympathetically, as an ambitious and prideful being who defies his tyrannical creator, omnipotent God, and wages war on Heaven, only to be defeated and cast down. Some critics regard the character of Satan as a Byronic hero.
'Paradise Lost was the first literary work in English written on a planetary scale... In sublimity and magnitude, it comes closer than anything in our language to the swollen red sun sinking in a tropical sea...' Guardian
"Offers an intensely filmic description of the events that countless artists have sought to visualise" The Times "Milton represents the English imagination at its most organised, disciplined and sublime" -- Tom Paulin Guardian "Never was a work of literature so imbued with the visual. He creates a universe that never existed, and paints it so you see it and are overwhelmed by its immensity, its magnificent splendour at the top end, the great dark plains and huge rocky mountains, the fires and storms at the other - and the horror of the void between" -- Julian Rathbone Independent "I read Paradise Lost when I was 11, and it made me suddenly realise that the Devil was sexy, which was quite muddling at that age and had disastrous consequences in that I then lusted after unsuitable men for the rest of my life" -- Jilly Cooper Daily Mail "When the blind John Milton came to retell the story of Genesis in book seven of Paradise Lost he dwelt with understandable poignancy on the sheer visual loveliness of the newly created world. Anyone who thinks Milton is a pedantic old bore should peruse the lines that celebrate the wonder and beauty of birds' flight, migration and song" Financial Times
John Milton was born on 9 December 1608. He studied at St Paul's School and then at Christ's College, Cambridge. He wrote poetry in Latin and Italian as well as English and travelled in Italy between 1638 and 1639. He married Mary Powell in 1642 but their relationship quickly broke down and they lived apart until 1645. They had four children, three daughters and a son who died in infancy. During the Interregnum after the execution of Charles I, Milton worked for the civil service and wrote pamphlets in support of the new republic. He also began work on his masterpiece, Paradise Lost, as early as 1642. His first wife died in 1652 and he married again in 1656, although his second wife died not long afterwards in 1658. When the monarchy was restored in 1660 Milton was arrested but was released with a fine. In 1663 he married his third wife, Elizabeth Minshull and he is also thought to have finished Paradise Lost in this same year. He published the companion poem, Paradise Regained, in 1671.John Milton died on 8 November 1674.