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Paradise Lost

In Paradise Lost, Milton condemns reverence for physical objects—however well intentioned.
  admired Milton epic poem of original sin (1667)
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Strongly Associated with:   Milton
Milton’s goal was to write an epic poem in English that would be comparable to Homer’s Odyssey. He said the poem was to "justify the ways of God to men" — to explain the apparent conflict between God’s eternal foresight and free will.

Milton was blind when he dictated the over 80,000 word poem in blank verse; i.e., unrhymed iambic pentameter (10-syllable lines with every other syllable stressed).

The poem is challenging to read, but even those who have not read it are often familiar with some of its lines such as:

  Better to reign in hell, than serve in heav’n.
  The mind is its own place, and in it self
  Can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n.
  …who overcomes
  By force, hath overcome but half his foe.

In 1671 Milton published a sequel, Paradise Regained about Jesus’ triumphant resistance to Satan’s temptation.

Accelerated Reader Level/Points:  Not found, but a difficult book.  The level might be about 20 and there are many historic references.
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SparkNotes Contents
  • In Paradise Lost, Milton condemns reverence for physical objects—however well intentioned.
  • i remembered how great i thought john milton was, but when i picked up paradise lost i couldn’t understand it at all.
    Daniel Keyes  --  Flowers for Algernon
  • I was fascinated by Paradise Lost and Dante’s Inferno and Mike Carey’s Lucifer.
    Cassandra Clare  --  City of Heavenly Fire
  • Paradise Lost Book I 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 the heavens and earth Rose out of Chaos: or, if Sion hill Delight thee more, and Siloa’s brook that flowed…
    John Milton  --  Paradise Lost

  • Show more
  • The quotation is from Paradise Lost, Book IX.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson  --  Selected Essays
  • Paradise lost.
    Pittacus Lore  --  I Am Number Four
  • "…. if I recall correctly," Valentine was saying, "you are in fact familiar with Milton’s Paradise Lost?"
    Cassandra Clare  --  City of Ashes
  • But Paradise Lost excited different and far deeper emotions.
    Mary Shelley  --  Frankenstein
  • The influential English poet who wrote Paradise Lost was a contemporary of Galileo’s and a savant who conspiracy buffs put at the top of their list of Illuminati suspects.
    Dan Brown  --  Angels & Demons
  • Paradise Lost begins with Milton calling on the muse to sing of "the Fruit/ Of that Forbidden Tree whose mortal tast/Brought death into the World and all our woe."
    Homer  --  The Odyssey

  • Show more again
  • Shakespeare above all made it available for serious dramatic poetry, and Milton canonized unrhymed iambic pentameter for epic in Paradise Lost.
    Homer  --  The Iliad
  • It was not until Andros read John Milton’s Paradise Lost that he saw his destiny materialize before him.
    Dan Brown  --  The Lost Symbol
  • Before we fled Bethlehem’s drear libraries I had also recently read The Pilgrim’s Progress and Paradise Lost, which have weaker plot lines than Dr. Jekyll, and many other books Our Father does not know about, including the poems of Miss Emily Dickinson and Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque by Edgar Allan Poe.
    Barbara Kingsolver  --  The Poisonwood Bible
  • —Have you found those six brave medicals, John Eglinton asked with elder’s gall, to write Paradise Lost at your dictation?
    James Joyce  --  Ulysses
  • But when a poet chooses to write a sonnet rather than, say, John Milton’s epic Paradise Lost, it’s not because he’s lazy.
    Thomas C. Foster  --  How to Read Literature Like a Professor
  • —John Milton, Paradise Lost.
    Cassandra Clare  --  City of Glass
  • In the family "keeping-room," as it is termed, he will remember the staid, respectable old book-case, with its glass doors, where Rollin’s History,* Milton’s Paradise Lost, Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, and Scott’s Family Bible,** stand side by side in decorous order, with multitudes of other books, equally solemn and respectable.
    Harriet Beecher Stowe  --  Uncle Tom’s Cabin
  • Paradise Lost, B. vii.
    George Eliot  --  Middlemarch
  • Milton wrote Paradise Lost.
    Richard Lederer  --  A Brief History of the World
  • As for Clarissa—all those daylight hours curled up on the bed with pins and needles in her arm—it surely proved the case of Paradise Lost in reverse—the heroine became more loathsome as her death-fixated virtue was revealed.
    Ian McEwan  --  Atonement
  • The Young Man’s Best Companion, The Farrier’s Sure Guide, The Veterinary Surgeon, Paradise Lost, The Pilgrim’s Progress, Robinson Crusoe, Ash’s Dictionary, and Walkingame’s Arithmetic, constituted his library; and though a limited series, it was one from which he had acquired more sound information by diligent perusal than many a man of opportunities has done from a furlong of laden shelves.
    Thomas Hardy  --  Far from the Madding Crowd
  •   I sung of Chaos and eternal Night, Taught by the heav’nly Muse to venture down The dark descent, and up to reascend… John Milton, Paradise Lost   .
    Cassandra Clare  --  City of Bones
  • Her mind was filled with Paradise Lost, she told me later, showing me the notebook she still kept with its diagrams.
    Eudora Welty  --  One Writer’s Beginnings
  • (Long afterward, writing of this time in his boyhood, John Quincy Adams would recall secreting himself in a closet to smoke tobacco and read Milton’s Paradise Lost, trying without success to determine what "recondite charm" in them gave his father so much pleasure.
    David McCullough  --  John Adams
    Herman Melville  --  Moby Dick
  • Paradise lost, I. 125-26.
    James Fenimore Cooper  --  The Deerslayer
  • -Paradise Lost, 7.21 When Odysseus has completed his story, Alkinoos tells him that a ship is ready to take him home and promises a swift and safe journey.
    Homer  --  The Odyssey
  • John Milton took most of his subject matter and a great deal of material for his great works from you-knowwhere: Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, Samson Agonistes.
    Thomas C. Foster  --  How to Read Literature Like a Professor
  • For the age of Dryden and Pope the rhyming couplet was the only candidate, but the couplet fell from favor and the blank verse of Paradise Lost came to be recognized as the English heroic measure.
    Homer  --  The Odyssey
  • Hook at Alec and I feel like Lucifer in Paradise Lost.
    Cassandra Clare  --  City of Heavenly Fire
  • Fortunately the books were written in the language, the elements of which I had acquired at the cottage; they consisted of Paradise Lost, a volume of Plutarch’s Lives, and the Sorrows of Werter.
    Mary Shelley  --  Frankenstein
  • Milton’s Paradise Lost and Pope’s Iliad represent the Homeric apogee of the classical epic tradition; the Romantic preference for personal lyric over heroic epic did not extinguish Homer’s influence, and the twentieth century found powerful new ways to use the old poem, from Joyce’s Ulysses to Derek Walcott’s Omeros.
    Homer  --  The Iliad
  • Compare also Paradise Lost, I, 255-7.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson  --  Selected Essays
  • —_Paradise Lost_.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson  --  Selected Essays
  • Milton, Paradise Lost, Book V.] [Footnote 693: Greek sculpture.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson  --  Selected Essays
  • ] [Footnote 658: Doleful histories of Adam’s fall, etc. The subject of Paradise Lost, the great poem by John Milton.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson  --  Selected Essays
  • )] [Footnote 151: Milton (1608-1674), the great English epic poet, author of _Paradise Lost.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson  --  Selected Essays
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Associated words [difficulty]:   Paradise Lost [7] , Milton [6] , Middlemarch [7] , Canterbury Tales [9] , Jane Eyre [4] , Heart of Darkness [5] , Moby-Dick [5] , Pride and Prejudice [5] , Robinson Crusoe [6] , The Catcher in the Rye [6] , The Count of Monte Cristo [6] , The Three Musketeers [6] , Anna Karenina [7] , Doctor Zhivago [7] , Great Expectations [7] , Gulliver’s Travels [7] , Little Women [7] , Lolita (the novel) [7] , Middlemarch [7] , The Grapes of Wrath [7] , The Joy Luck Club [7] , A Tale of Two Cities [8] , Adventures of Huckleberry Finn [8] , Crime and Punishment [8] , Les Misérables [8] , Lord of the Flies [8] , Madame Bovary [8] , Mrs. Dalloway [8] , Of Mice and Men [8] , Pygmalion [8] , Rip Van Winkle [8] , Sense and Sensibility [8] , Slaughterhouse-Five [8] , The Brothers Karamazov [8] , The Color Purple [8] , The Great Gatsby [8] , The Hunchback of Notre Dame [8] , The Last of the Mohicans [8] , The Metamorphosis [8] , The Old Man and the Sea [8] , The Scarlet Letter [8] , Uncle Tom’s Cabin [8] , Wuthering Heights [8] , Animal Farm [9] , Bleak House [9] , Canterbury Tales [9] , One Hundred Years of Solitude [9] , The Adventures of Tom Sawyer [9] , The Call of the Wild [9] , The Sound and the Fury [9] , The Sun Also Rises [9] , The War of the Worlds [9]
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