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The Complete Poems and Major Prose

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  1,054 ratings  ·  35 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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Apr 28, 2009 added it
A must read -- if you happen to enjoy 17th century prose and poetry.
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.
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Milton is obviously a product of his time and can be annoyingly sexist. However, his writing is thought-provoking, nuanced and well worth a read.
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I won't write a long review for this work, as I've written individual reviews for most of the works contained in it (Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, Comus, Samson Agonistes, Doctrine of Divorce, Christian Doctrine, etc.).

I picked up this collection about 8 or 9 years ago with the intent of getting to it eventually, never anticipating that it would take me almost a decade to crack it open -- other books beckoning me and always diverting me from visiting Milton. While I was familiar with
Jeff Lacy
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Why give a finishing date for Milton when I will return to him for solace for the rest of my life. As life is a measure of low expectations, Milton rises to to heaven in his art. The audible aligned with this book is absolutely essential as it brings the text alive, but unfortunately it is abridged.
Mar 05, 2008 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.
Jan 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Satan is heroic.
Samuel Gee
Dec 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was the textbook for the Milton course I took my first semester junior year. I wound up buying it. Lucky enough to have made a friend for life
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recentlyread
Turns out that Milton was a pretty good writer.
Kin Cosner
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love Milton. As other reviewers have stated, it is indispensible. It was my text in graduate school and I frequently consult its notes.
Jun 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Keith Davis
Nov 22, 2009 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."
Mar 20, 2009 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.
Nov 21, 2011 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.
Sep 29, 2012 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.
Apr 10, 2008 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.
Ricky Allen
Jan 13, 2008 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.
Doug DePalma
May 16, 2013 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.
Hated some parts, loved some parts, didn't read others.
Jan 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Rereading Paradise Lost.
Re-read Comus
Sep 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
"Lycidas" is my favorite poem, quite easily. Amazing piece.
Aug 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Only reading Paradise Lost (so far). Excellent introduction and rich, unobtrusive annotations.
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
Sep 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: college
Top Ten favorite books of all time.
May 05, 2008 rated it did not like it
Wake me up when it's over.
Aug 27, 2007 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.
May 30, 2008 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I already have the Riverside, but this still looks delicious.
David Cain
May 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It takes a very literate person to enjoy Milton and even then, it is hard. Beautiful and profound.
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John Milton 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 self-determination, and the urgent
“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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