Description

    First Edition of Milton's Paradise Regain'd

    John Milton. Paradise Regain'd. A Poem. In IV Books. To which is added Samson Agonistes. London: J. M[acock] for John Starkey, 1671. First edition. This is the second state with "loth" correct on page 67. Quarto. [A]2, B-P4. [4], 111, [1], 101, [3] pages. With licence and errata leaves. Full modern olive-brown morocco, marbled edges, bookplate of Edward C. Simpson (1895-1979) of New Zealand marginal stain at foot of H8; I1, trimmed at head (not affecting text). Still, a very good copy. From the Krown & Spellman Collection. Please visit HA.com/6112 for an extended description of this lot.

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    "It is possible that Paradise Regained, which depicts the temptations of Jesus in the desert, owes its pacific tone to the influence of the values of the Quaker community at Chalfont St. Giles. The Jesus of Paradise Regained is not a warrior like the Son in book 6 of Paradise Lost, but rather a man who outwits his opponent. Milton's fictional Jesus is not, however, a sentimentalized figure: he denounces ordinary citizens as 'a herd confused, a miscellaneous rabble', so reflecting Milton's disdain for popular democracy, and he denounces the cultural accomplishments of ancient Greece, so reflecting the opinion of Milton in his late years that worldly learning was a vain pursuit; in taking this position he approaches the radical view that education, like riches, constituted an impediment to salvation." (Oxford DNB).

    Wing M2152. ESTC R299. Shawcross 309. Coleridge 168. Wither to Prior 613.

    Milton, John. Paradise Regaind. A Poem. In IV Books. To which is added Samson Agonistes. London: J. M[acock] for John Starkey, 1671. 4to. 117 x 115mm. [A]2, B-P4. [4], 111, [1], 101, [3]p.With license & errata leaves. Full modern olive-brown morocco, marbled edges,bookplate of Edward C. Simpson (1895-1979) of New Zealand marginal stain at foot of H8 & I1, trimmed at head (not affecting text), very good copy. First Edition. ÒIt is possible that Paradise Regained, which depicts the temptations of Jesus in the desert, owes its pacific tone to the influence of the values of the Quaker community at Chalfont St Giles. The Jesus of Paradise Regained is not a warrior like the Son in book 6 of Paradise Lost, but rather a man who outwits his opponent. Milton's fictional Jesus is not, however, a sentimentalized figure: he denounces ordinary citizens as Ôa herd confused, a miscellaneous rabbleÕ, so reflecting Milton's disdain for popular democracy, and he denounces the cultural accomplishments of ancient Greece, so reflecting the opinion of Milton in his late years that worldly learning was a vain pursuit; in taking this position he approaches the radical view that education, like riches, constituted an impediment to salvation.
    In the autumn of 1671 Milton published Paradise Regained, a Poem in IV Books, to which is Added Samson Agonistes. The date of Paradise Regained can be ascertained by the testimony of Thomas Ellwood, but there can be no certainty about the date of Samson Agonistes. Topical references and stylistic markers show that Samson is substantially a post-Restoration work, though scholars debate whether it was written immediately after the Restoration or shortly before publication; on the other hand, echoes of the divorce tracts of the 1640s make an early stage of composition distinctly possible...
    Samson Agonistes is a closet drama intended to be read rather than performed; it is therefore a literary rather than a dramatic work, and so claimed affinity with the plays of classical antiquity, which in seventeenth-century England were read rather than performed. The structure of the play is modelled on that of ancient Greek drama, but the characterization of Samson is resolutely modern. Like Racine, who was at the height of his powers when Milton published Samson Agonistes, Milton created a protagonist who was much more self-conscious than were the dramatic characters of antiquity; in this respect Milton's Samson has more in common with Hamlet than with Oedipus. Indeed, Samson is in some respects a Restoration nonconformist struggling to discern a pattern of divine intervention in his life. God is absent from Samson Agonistes, as he is in similar works such as Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress: for late seventeenth-century nonconformists, spiritual growth was not assisted by any vision of God. Samson's massacre of the Philistines at the end of the play also has a contemporary agenda: in Milton's version of the massacre it is only the Philistian lords that are killed, because Ôthe vulgar only scaped who stood withoutÕ. In Milton's view, retribution should be directed at political leaders rather than at those whom they lead.Ó[ODNB]
    This is the second state with ÒlothÓ correct on p67. Wing M2152. ESTC R299. Shawcross 309. Coleridge 168.Wither to Prior 613. English Literature. Occult. Poetry.



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