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The Complete Poems and Major Prose

4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  877 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
First published by Odyssey Press in 1957, this classic edition provides Milton's poetry and major prose works, richly annotated, in a sturdy and affordable clothbound volume.
Hardcover, 1088 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. (first published 1957)
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Mar 05, 2008 Rodney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
You can get the Complete Poems in a dozen different editions, so the heart of a new collection like this is in the notes. I hoped the editors would gift us with a new Milton, find some way to shake up the stereotype, but alas, their poet’s the government-issue Great Man swaddled in lightning and footnotes.

Kerrigan, Rumrich, Braden and Fallon—all senior Miltonists, all men—don’t feel much need to justify the grand tone and theological absolutes of the ‘Miltonic’ to our secular, less Baroque age.
Apr 28, 2009 Paula added it
A must read -- if you happen to enjoy 17th century prose and poetry.
Jan 30, 2008 Darren rated it it was amazing
Satan is heroic.
May 01, 2015 Keith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Milton is certainly one of the main pillars of English poetry. Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained and Samson Agoniste rightly belong to the canon of great Western Literaure. (I'm less enamored of his short poems. And I can't speak for his extensive Latin poetry.) His Satan is one of the most lively characters ever created in literature.

His prose? He is one of the most dense and convoluted writers of prose I ever read. (Only George Washington is more opaque.)

This is a very good, well footnoted edit
Keith Davis
Nov 22, 2009 Keith Davis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Milton is one of those classic authors who are highly praised but seldom read, which is tragic because Paradise Lost is one of the greatest achievements of the English language. Just read this one sentence description of Lucifer's fall: "Him the Almighty Power hurled headlong flaming from th' ethereal sky, with hideous ruin and combustion, down to bottomless perdition, there to dwell in adamantine chains and penal fire, who durst defy th' Omnipotent to arms."
Nov 21, 2011 Margaret rated it it was ok
It is an excellent compilation of Milton's work. The problem I found was that though I did quite enjoy Paradise Lost (which I had previously read a part of) and found Samson Agonistes palatable, I did not enjoy reading much of his prose. So let this serve as a note that my rating is based on my enjoyment on Milton as a writer and not on the collection.
Mar 20, 2009 Stephen rated it really liked it
I read this together with Paradise Lost, since they were in just one book. An edition from 1930's, I think. It was an easy read; for the writing wasn't as archaic as Paradise Lost was. Parts of it, I skipped, because it was a 'lil bit dragging to read. But all the same, it's a good read on a cold, chilly night.
Doug DePalma
Mar 23, 2014 Doug DePalma rated it it was ok
It is a very useful text for its purpose in Milton surveys at the undergraduate level.

Past that, the footnotes are at times intrusive and coercive. Hughes footnotes some passages and ignores others that are just as deserving, leading the reader to believe there is an agenda at play.
Read this in Caren Silvester's class at Bob Jones University. We didn't read the whole thing, but we read a lot, including Paradise Lost. I used this text again when I sat in an undergrad course with Phil Donnelly in 2013 while I was at Baylor.
Dec 14, 2012 Kristine rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kristine by: Milton
Read most of it--Paradise Lost and many of the poems and essays. Pretty complex and stunning, but you definitely need a lot of help and other resources to take in all the classical and Christian allusions and to realize and appreciate the structure.
Ricky Allen
Jan 13, 2008 Ricky Allen rated it it was amazing
this was the primary text we used in a class i took about milton.. milton sure did sound pretty boring before i signed up for the class, but i'm pretty thankful i took the class now. milton's genius is beyond description. he seemed more than mortal.
May 28, 2008 jeanette rated it liked it
Milton is difficult for me because he is so ENGLISH. But, I have to say that Paradise Lost is ok. The prose flows well and is not forced and the images are very well conjured. I think it's a good read, but I'ts not my first pick.
I've read:

Il Penseroso - both of these are great.
Sonnet 7
Of Education - Interesting.
Lycidas - a truly beautiful elegy
The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce - Interesting.
Sonnet 12
Aug 27, 2007 Geoff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the volume I studied back in the college days and it's still dear to my heart. Haven't actually read or worked from another collected Milton, but this one did the trick for me.
Jun 11, 2011 sologdin rated it it was amazing
you need this. great notes and other editorial materials. will want to supplement it with a separate copy of the eikon basilike, and probably the parker biography.
Nicole Cunha
This book is full of wisdom that can be spread to any age group. Found it extremely helpful in dealing with my personal lide as well as my academic career.
Aug 14, 2008 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Only reading Paradise Lost (so far). Excellent introduction and rich, unobtrusive annotations.
David Cain
May 20, 2012 David Cain rated it it was amazing
It takes a very literate person to enjoy Milton and even then, it is hard. Beautiful and profound.
May 06, 2009 Jonathan rated it it was amazing
Great 1957 edition by Merrit Hughes revised and reissued. Cheap at the price.
May 30, 2008 Michael marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I already have the Riverside, but this still looks delicious.
Sep 24, 2008 Adam rated it it was amazing
"Lycidas" is my favorite poem, quite easily. Amazing piece.
Hated some parts, loved some parts, didn't read others.
Sep 28, 2009 Stefanie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: college
Top Ten favorite books of all time.
Shelley Catalan
Feb 23, 2013 Shelley Catalan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Seriously, Milton...just mind-boggling.
Jun 12, 2009 joey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Rereading Paradise Lost.
Apr 06, 2010 Paloma is currently reading it
Currently reading Paradise Lost
Re-read Comus
Jun 25, 2009 Kate rated it did not like it
Wake me up when it's over.
Tegumai Bopsulai
Tegumai Bopsulai rated it really liked it
Feb 12, 2016
Leonard Gleyzer
Leonard Gleyzer marked it as to-read
Feb 11, 2016
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  • The Complete Pelican Shakespeare
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  • The Well Wrought Urn: Studies in the Structure of Poetry
  • Collected Poetry & Prose
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  • Selected Poems
John Milton (9 December 1608 – 8 November 1674) was an English poet, polemicist, man of letters, and a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell. He wrote at a time of religious flux and political upheaval, and is best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost (1667), written in blank verse.

Milton's poetry and prose reflect deep personal convictions, a passion for freedom and
More about John Milton...

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“Whose but his own? ingrate, he had of mee
All he could have; I made him just and right,
Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.
Such I created all th’ Ethereal Powers
And Spirits, both them who stood and them who fail’d;
Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell.
Not free, what proof could they have giv’n sincere
Of true allegiance, constant Faith or Love,
Where only what they needs must do, appear’d,
Not what they would? what praise could they receive?
What pleasure I from such obedience paid,
When Will and Reason (Reason also is choice)
Useless and vain, of freedom both despoil’d,
Made passive both, had served necessity,
Not mee. They therefore as to right belong’d,
So were created, nor can justly accuse
Thir maker, or thir making, or thir Fate;
As if Predestination over-rul’d
Thir will, dispos’d by absolute Decree
Or high foreknowledge; they themselves decreed
Thir own revolt, not I; if I foreknew
Foreknowledge had no influence on their fault,
Which had no less prov’d certain unforeknown.
So without least impulse or shadow of Fate,
Or aught by me immutable foreseen,
They trespass, Authors to themselves in all
Both what they judge and what they choose; for so
I form’d them free, and free they must remain,
Till they enthrall themselves: I else must change
Thir nature, and revoke the high Decree
Unchangeable, Eternal, which ordain’d
Thir freedom: they themselves ordain’d thir fall.”
“Father, I do acknowledge and confess
That I this honor, I this pomp have brought
To Dagon, and advanc’d his praises high
among the Heathen round; to God have brought
Dishonor, obloquy, and op’d the mouths
Of Idolists, and Atheists
[…]The anguish of my Soul, that suffers not
Mine eye to harbor sleep, or thoughts to rest.
This only hope relieves me, that the strife
With mee hath end.”
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