Paradise Lost Criticism

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Milton's poem has produced mixed reactions in the three centuries since its first publication. Much of the controversy surrounding the poem centers around two main issues: its style, and its content (specifically its religious subject matter and political overtones). Yet, it must be remembered, in the epic form style and content are closely related, and it is thus impossible to separate the two issues entirely.

Early reactions to the poem seem to have questioned Milton's use of blank verse in an epic poem, and the second and third issues of the first edition contain a note from ' "The Printer to the Reader" on this subject, as well as Milton's own justification of "The Verse." However, the most intense reaction to the poem in its early days focused on its content. Nicholas von Maltzahn ("The First Reception of Paradise Lost (1667)") summarizes the politics surrounding three early responses which...

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This section contains 1,050 words
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Paradise Lost from Epics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.