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Milton's Selected Poetry and Prose

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Milton's Selected Poetry and Prose presents the major poetic (excluding Paradise Lost) and prose works along with supporting materials necessary for in-depth study. Together, the Norton Critical Editions of Paradise Lost (ed. Gordon Teskey, 2005) and Milton's Selected Poetry and Prose are the essential texts for studying John Milton.


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Milton's Selected Poetry and Prose presents the major poetic (excluding Paradise Lost) and prose works along with supporting materials necessary for in-depth study. Together, the Norton Critical Editions of Paradise Lost (ed. Gordon Teskey, 2005) and Milton's Selected Poetry and Prose are the essential texts for studying John Milton.

30 review for Milton's Selected Poetry and Prose

  1. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    Milton’s religious poetry masks a more defiant, unsubmissive soul. In Aeropagitica, he rails against censorship. In Samson Agonistes, he expands on the last 10 verses from Judges 16 to show a Samson who, blinded, chained and without strength, rediscovers his will to resist. In The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates he advocates for the right of the governed to overthrow tyrants and justifies regicide. Milton was kind of a badass. At least on paper. However, he is also pretty boring. Maybe it’s the Milton’s religious poetry masks a more defiant, unsubmissive soul. In Aeropagitica, he rails against censorship. In Samson Agonistes, he expands on the last 10 verses from Judges 16 to show a Samson who, blinded, chained and without strength, rediscovers his will to resist. In The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates he advocates for the right of the governed to overthrow tyrants and justifies regicide. Milton was kind of a badass. At least on paper. However, he is also pretty boring. Maybe it’s the poet in him, but his papers on topics such as divorce and the value of the Commonwealth are verbose and overdone. Paradise Regained lacks all the drama seen in the first few books of Paradise Lost and presents an uncomplicated Jesus in the face of devilish temptations which, apparently, were not very tempting. As for his collection of shorter poems, unless you really are in to literary criticism and dissecting poetry, they probably won’t resonate much (with exceptions for L'Allegro and Il Penseroso). At the end of the Norton Critical Edition, There are about two hundred pages dedicated to short papers analyzing Milton’s various works. Most of them I could do without, though I would highly recommend Sharon Achinstein’s paper Samson Agonsites and the Drama of Dissent starting on page 626. Milton mixed his religious convictions with a strong belief in the rights of individuals to shape their own lives. Though I didn’t really enjoy many of his writings, he earns respect. In his eloquent defense for free speech, he leaves the means for his own impressive legacy: For books are a not absolutely dead things, but do contain a potency of life in them to be as active as that soul whose progeny they are; nay, they do not preserve as in a vial the purest efficacy and extraction of that living intellect that bred them. I know they are as lively and as vigorously productive as those fabulous dragon’s teeth; and being sown up and down, may chance to spring up armed men. And yet, on the other hand, unless wariness be used, as good almost kill a man as kill a good book. Who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, God’s image; but he who destroys a good book kills reason itself, kills the image of God, as it were, in the eye. Aeropagitica, pg. 341

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mariah

    So far, I appreciate his literary critiques on many things, however, I find him to be quite arrogant, and a little too self-reflexive for my liking. His literature is obviously grand, and very clearly scholarly, I just prefer less of a hubris element, and more of a "human"element to authors. There is something so special about humble writers writing great things in great agony that should be appreciated more than arrogant writers writing what's expected of them from themselves. ** Update - I fin So far, I appreciate his literary critiques on many things, however, I find him to be quite arrogant, and a little too self-reflexive for my liking. His literature is obviously grand, and very clearly scholarly, I just prefer less of a hubris element, and more of a "human"element to authors. There is something so special about humble writers writing great things in great agony that should be appreciated more than arrogant writers writing what's expected of them from themselves. ** Update - I finally finished the Milton course and had time to update, these collected works are wonderful. they are thoughtful and exceedingly intelligent and really force you to dive deep into the text and within yourself to form very personal understandings of the works. At times he may seem quite arrogant and entitled, but looking passed that, these stories were some of my absolute favorites of the semester. I was upset at his jokes toward people who at the time were uneducated due to the class system, however, I definitely appreciate his thoughts and how he composed them into these magnificent works, and how he wrote about freedom and people. I really think he said it best. We are born free, entirely in ourselves, he was and is so very right.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Meeg

    I liked Samson Agonistes, and Comus was pretty decent. In this norton edition they modernize the spelling, include a bunch of critical essays on the poems, etc in the back (some of which I read and enjoyed) and give you introductory notes and footnotes which sometimes don't shy away from telling you exactly how you're "supposed to" interpret ambiguities.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ksenia

    Read: Paradise Regained, Samson Agonistes, Lycidas, Comus (A Mask Presented at Ludlow Castle 1634), The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Evey

    The Voice of Humanity!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Taylor

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Hill

  8. 4 out of 5

    Katie

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

  10. 5 out of 5

    Chloe

  11. 5 out of 5

    Enrique Castanos

  12. 5 out of 5

    Phil Rigley

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ann

  14. 5 out of 5

    Andyinstant

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ken Liu

  16. 5 out of 5

    Yamo

  17. 5 out of 5

    Justo

  18. 5 out of 5

    Naori

  19. 4 out of 5

    Eilise

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lorenzo Adler

  21. 4 out of 5

    dp

    I didn't read this entire thing, but got through a fair amount of it with and for my Milton class throughout the semester. It's a finely edited volume with really helpful footnotes throughout, as well as critical essays in the back. Surprisingly, I enjoyed Milton's poetry far more than his prose, and I'm generally not a poetry fan. He was great at what he did.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tom

  23. 4 out of 5

    Micah Lindsey

  24. 5 out of 5

    Courtney

  25. 5 out of 5

    Evelyn

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rafael Sanchez

  27. 5 out of 5

    Brooke Johnson

  28. 5 out of 5

    John Ervin

  29. 4 out of 5

    Miles Smith

  30. 4 out of 5

    Heather

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