Thursday, 1 September 2005

Philip Pullman and Paradise Lost

What is the best book ever written in English? Easy answer: John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost (1667). Today Oxford University Press released a new edition of Paradise Lost. It features an introduction by the popular novelist Philip Pullman, author of the highly acclaimed (and highly theological) fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials.

Here are the details: John Milton, Paradise Lost, introduced by Philip Pullman (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 384pp., hbk., ISBN 019280619X. And here’s part of the promotional blurb:

“In his general introduction Pullman describes the power of the poem, its achievement as a story, how we should read it today, and its influence on him and His Dark Materials.... The book is beautifully produced, printed in two colours throughout, illustrated with the twelve engravings from the first illustrated edition published in 1688.” If you have never read Paradise Lost, now’s your chance to mend your ways.

3 Comments:

Lyn said...

I need to mend my ways, Benjamin. Thanks for the quick review. I've never read Paradise Lost - been too inimidated. Anyway, this edition makes it look intrigueing. lgp

PS. What the heck are the two comments doing above? Spam? Can't believe that!

Ben Myers said...

Sorry about those spam comments, which I've now deleted. I had the comments field open to "Anyone", and I didn't realise I would get spammed. I don't want to restrict the comments to people with Blogger accounts -- so I've now added Word Verification. We'll see if this keeps the spam away!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that information on Pullman's new edition. I have just ordered a copy for myself. I am curious as to how you (as a Christian) deal with Pullman's neo-Gnosticism, as well as his unabashed disdain for the Narnia Chronicles of C.S. Lewis, and above all his apparent lack of use for people of a more traditional faith. Such criticisms are what have, thus far, put me off reading His Dark Materials, even though I am deeply intrigued by what I have heard about the trilogy so far. And I do admit to a potentially unhealthy attraction for Gnostic studies myself. P.S. sorry I have to post anonymous, am not a member and having problems obtaining an account here due to system maintenance. I just stumbled upon your blog while doing a search for new editions of Paradise Lost, and am glad I did.

Sylvan. goliards@thewanderingscholar.com

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