8. Paradise Lost.

. . . Farewel happy Fields
Where Joy for ever dwells: Hail horrours, hail
Infernal world, and thou profoundest Hell
Receive thy new Possessor: One who brings
A mind not to be chang’d by Place or Time.
The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n.
[ . . . ] Here at least
We shall be free; th’ Almighty hath not built
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:
Here we may reign secure, and in my choyce
To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav’n.
(1.249–63)

John Milton’s Paradise Lost uses haunting, powerful poetry to retell the biblical story of Adam and Eve’s sin and exile from the Garden of Eden. But Chris and Suzanne still struggle with Milton’s personality and theology. They discuss the characters, including a famously compelling depiction of Satan; Milton’s use of other texts, including the Metamorphoses; and the text’s troubling gender politics.

Show Notes.

John Milton’s Paradise Lost, also available at Project Gutenberg.

The Tree of Knowledge, by Eva Figes, is a novel about Milton’s daughter Deborah [NYTimes review].

Thoughts on Milton and his daughters.

More images of Milton and his daughters.

Everybody wants a piece of Milton.

Gustave Doré’s illustrations for Paradise Lost.

William Blake’s illustrations for Paradise Lost.

Blake’s illuminated book Milton: A Poem.

Next episode: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (the 1818 version). Also on Project Gutenberg.

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