Hard Cover. London: Printed by S. Simmons, 1674. Near Fine.
Octavo. , 333, p. lacking the last blank. Finely bound in 19th century dark brown straight grain morocco, paneled and decorated in gilt with five-raised bands to spine, gilt turn-ins and text block edges, red marbled endpapers, with engraved frontispiece portrait of the author by Dolle (not found in all copies), and commendatory poems by S.B. in Latin and by Andrew Marvell in English. Near fine, some rubbing to joints and extremities, two bookplates to front pastedown, title page with two discreet tears expertly repaired, light spotting and toning to text block, a few faint pencil notes throughout, with the ownership signature of English scholar and translator William Nanson Lettsom, dated 3 April 1856 to verso of front free endpaper, other previous owner’s signature to title page. Overall, an attractive copy of the second edition of this seminal poem, in a beautiful binding. Wing M2144, Shawcross 318, ESTC R13351. Paradise Lost is a blank-verse poem that relates the story of Adam and Eve's expulsion from the idyllic Garden of Eden. Originally published in ten books, Milton revised the first edition by breaking two longer chapters in half, creating a total of twelve books. Like Virgil's Aeneid, Paradise Lost is half the length of both of Homer's epics. Milton began composing Paradise Lost after he had gone completely blind; he memorized his verses and orated them to friends and family for inscription. Although this process was due to disability rather than lack of modern technology, the oration of the poem further solidifies this text's ties to earlier epic poetry.