This authoritative edition of Milton's great epic, Paradise Lost, presents the poem in the original language (spelling and punctuation) of its 1674 publication. It thereby recovers pronunciations, sonorities, and rhythms often lost in modernized editions. Barbara K. Lewalski offers readers the opportunity to experience the brilliance and beauty of Paradise Lost as that poem was experienced by Milton's contemporaries.
Beginning with a brief historical and critical introduction, Lewalski also provides judicious explanatory annotations that clarify names and places, identify biblical and literary allusions, and gloss unfamiliar words. She includes as well a textual apparatus of variant readings, a select bibliography, and several illustrations from the 1688 Folio edition.
Lewalski's Paradise Lost is the first of three paperback volumes presenting authoritative texts of the complete poetry and major prose of John Milton in original language, thereby making these texts readily available to students and scholars.
Barbara K. Lewalski is William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of English Literature and of History and Literature at Harvard University. She is author of the definitive critical biography, The Life of Milton (Blackwell, 2000), which won the Milton Society of America's James Holly Hanford Book Award, and which has been widely celebrated. Her many other publications include Paradise Lost and the Rhetoric of Literary Forms (1985); Milton's Brief Epic: The Genre, Meaning and Art of Paradise Regained (1966); and Protestant Poetics and the Seventeenth-Century Religious Lyric (1979).