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Paradise Lost. A Poem in Ten Books.

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Paradise Lost. A Poem in Ten Books.

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Stock Code 107805

London, Printed by S. Simmons, and are to be sold by T. Helder, at the Angel, in Little-Brittain, 1669

'one of the greatest works of the human imagination'. First edition of Milton's masterpiece, 'one of the greatest works of the human imagination' (DNB).

Simmons issued the first edition over several years, occasionally adding an updated title page. By the time the 1200 copies of the first printing had sold out, seven states of the title page had been produced, bearing the dates 1667, 1668, and 1669.

The present issue contains the important fourteen pages of preliminary matter that Milton added during 1668 after the first copies were issued, including 'The Argument', in which Milton gives a synopsis of each of the ten books, and 'The Verse', in which Milton defends his choice of using blank verse rather than rhyme, and a list of errata. Simmons' note to the reader states that he had procured this explanation from Milton because readers of the poem had 'stumbled' on first encountering it, asking 'why the Poem Rimes not'. 'Milton's strident defence of blank verse (unrhymed iambic pentameter) is printed in large type that fills two pages. His chosen meter, although no longer fashionable by 1667, was the dominant mode of Shakespeare's plays and is the closest to the natural rhythms of English speech. Samuel Johnson later commented sarcastically that, "finding blank verse easier than rhyme, [Milton] was desirous of persuading himself that it is better"' (Morgan Library).

First edition; small 4to (18.7 x 14 cm); cancel title a variant of the fifth state (Lowndes' and Grolier's seventh) with 'Angel' in the imprint in Roman type (this copy with commas after 'Helder' and 'Angel', and 'Little Brittain' hyphenated), A2r with 'The Printer to the Reader' text with 3-line variant, title and text within ruled border, woodcut headpieces and initials opening each book, occasional neat repairs to margins, light wear to lower edge of Ff2, some minor soiling to margins, partly washed; later full brown morocco, gilt lettering to spine, inner dentelles gilt, all edges gilt, overall a very good copy; collation: A4 (without blank A1 after cancel title), a4, Aa-Tt4, Vv2.

ESTC R13406; Grolier, Wither to Prior II, 603; Pforzheimer 718; Lowndes IV, 1558; see Hugh Amory, 'Things Unattempted Yet' in The Book Collector, Spring 1983, pp41-66.
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Our Bookshop and Gallery can be found in the heart of Mayfair at 106 New Bond Street, where most of our stock is available to view and on public display.

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About us

Shapero Rare Books is an internationally renowned dealer in antiquarian & rare books and works on paper.

Our Bookshop and Gallery can be found in the heart of Mayfair at 106 New Bond Street, where most of our stock is available to view and on public display.

We exhibit at major international art fairs, including TEFAF (Maastricht and New York), Frieze Masters, Art Miami and Masterpiece London, as well as antiquarian & rare book fairs including New York, Paris, London, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Hong Kong.

Read more

Paradise Lost. A Poem in Ten Books.

MILTON, John.

Stock code: 107805

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