Appearing in tandem with the publication of an authoritative text of the first edition of John Milton''s Paradise Lost, these insightful essays by ten Miltonists establish the significant differences between the text, context, and effect of the poem''s first edition (1667) and those of the now-standard second edition. In bringing together essays by various hands, editors Michael Lieb and John T. Shawcross seek to map what may be termed a new frontier in Milton studies, one that acknowledges the importance of what Milton himself considered to be the work of a lifetime when he offered Paradise Lost to readers in 1667.
While the scholars writing here do not claim that the first edition of Milton''s epic should be viewed as supplanting the second and later editions, they do seek to demonstrate the importance of coming to terms with the original ten-book edition both as a work with its own identity and value and as a source of fundamental insight into the nature of the editions that would follow in its wake. Paradise Lost cannot be fully understood without an awareness of the dynamic and ever-changing nature of the forces through which it made its first and subsequent appearances in the world at large.
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