"Paradise Lost" is an epic poem written by the English poet John Milton and first published 1667. The first version of the poem was made up of ten books and over ten thousand lines of verse. A later edition organized the poem into twelve books. The book is considered by many scholars to be Milton's […]
John Milton was born in London, England on December 9th, 1608. The son of a composer, Milton intended to become a clergyman when he was young but soon grew unsatisfied with the Anglican clergy and began having an interest in poetry. Milton's earliest known work dates from 1623 when he was just 15 years old.
Two years later, Milton began attending Christ's College in London and obtained a Master's of Arts in 1632. Later, Milton attended Cambridge College and it was while there that he began to seriously write poetry.
From 1632 to 1638, Milton lived in his father's country home in Horton, Buckinghamshire to prepare himself for life as a poet by reading Latin and Greek classics and ecclesiastical and political history.
In 1638-39 he toured France and Italy where he met many of the influential literary figures of the day. On his return to England, he settled in London and began writing a series of social, religious and political tracts. In his tracts, Milton took a firm political stance and established himself as the ablest pamphleteer of that time.
In 1642 he married Mary Powell who left him after only a few weeks because of different temperaments but the two later reconciled in 1645. Milton and Powell had four children before her death in 1652. Milton supported the parliament in the civil war between Parliamentarians and Royalists and in 1649 was appointed foreign secretary by the government of the Commonwealth.
In 1654, Milton became totally blind for unknown reasons and thereafter was forced to dictate his prose with the aid of the poet Andrew Marvell.
In 1656 he married again to Katherine Woodcock who sadly died shortly after giving birth to their first child.
During the restoration of Charles II in 1660, Milton was punished for his support of Parliament by being given a small fine and a short imprisonment.
Milton's best known and greatest work "Paradise Lost" was published in 1667. Milton began composing the work when he was working as a prose writer and government servant many years earlier. The apogee of Milton's writing career was reached in the last years of his life when he completed "Paradise Lost" and composed the companion epic, "Paradise Regain'd" (1671) and the poetic drama 'Samson Agonistes' (1671).
He married for a third time to Elizabeth Mynshull in 1663 and lived in seclusion until his death on November 8th, 1674. Milton is regarded to this day as the greatest English poet after Shakespeare and his sublime verse shaped the course of English poetry well into the 21st century over three centuries after his death.