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Summary

Often considered the greatest epic in any modern language, Paradise Lost tells the story of the revolt of Satan, his banishment from Heaven, and the ensuing fall of Man with his expulsion from Eden. It is a tale of immense drama and excitement, of innocence pitted against corruption, of rebellion and treachery, in which God and Satan fight a bitter battle for control of mankind's destiny.

The struggle ranges across heaven, hell, and earth, as Satan and his band of rebel angels conspire against God. At the center of the conflict are Adam and Eve, motivated by all too human temptations, but whose ultimate downfall is unyielding love.

Written in blank verse of unsurpassed majesty, Paradise Lost is the work of a mastermind involved in a profound search for truth.

Milton's stated objective in writing Paradise Lost was to "justify the ways of God to men"; yet a controversy has developed among the literary community as to the epic's merit. "Poetry", said Dr. Johnson in his life of Milton, "is the art of uniting pleasure with truth, by calling imagination to the help of reason." If Paradise Lost does not fulfill this definition, what does?

Public Domain (P)2006 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Louis
  • Louis
  • 31-05-05

A Breathtaking Work, Well-Rendered!

Without refering to Paradise Lost's importance to Reformation and literary history, which is well-known, I personally found greater spiritual treasure in listening to this work than any other audible Christian fiction. The vivid images of the angels' and man's fall, so beautifully and poignantly related, are harrowing. The terrible betrayal by these creatures, contrasted with the Father's loyalty and truthfulness, is tragic enough - but the further consequence of the Son's willingness to atone for man is told in such a way as to make one cry for His holiness and love!

The narrator is adept at reading this Stuart-era English, and emotes very well, without overacting. If you haven't read this work, be warned that it is in "Shakespeare" speak. There are classical Greek references galore, too. It would be a tough "read" for someone unaccustomed to such literature, but this recording will help, especially if you truly read it concurrently. And who wants to read within your comfort zone? That's like eating pablum.

If you already know and love the work, this is another dimension from which to approach it, and a good one. If you don't know it, this fine production will help immensely. Soli Deo Gloria.

62 of 64 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Centaur
  • Centaur
  • 04-09-07

An amazing delight

Louis from Dallas in his review has summarized his review far beyond my abilities. But perhaps, as a novice in this type of literature, I might encourage other novices to brave this "new" style and enjoy it as much as I have. Shakespearian it is. But like Shakespeare's most entertaining works, this book also educates while entertaining.

I was most pleasantly surprised at how fast and completely I was able to comprehend the message, while never even once yawning or looking for something else to do. No, indeed, everything else was set aside until I had fully digested this work.

This is definitely a major requirement for anyone who thinks they know how to appreciate the English language. I highly recommend this work to anyone looking to expand their horizons.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Cameron B. Rankine
  • Cameron B. Rankine
  • 23-04-12

Detailed info relating to events before and after

What did you like best about this story?

It described who the highway to hell was built, as opposed to the Holy highway mentioned in Bible Prophecy

What does Frederick Davidson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

There's a certain calm madness with his voice that accentuates the words, as though read by an exited mortician

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When the demons that were cast into hell were scheming as to how to get God back while discussing the famous "new created world" as mentioned in legend by the heavenly scribes.
and how to pervert it

Also when Cerberus was entrusted by the LORD with the key of hell and would be held responsible should any creature depart, there was a struggle in hell against him to get the key. Satan, prevailing with his persuasion won him over, got out crossed thru chaos, ventured many a night and finally arrived into the garden of Eden. Angels were on their guard passing info that something may have happened in hell and that Adam should be put on guard as to the events as well as info about the future.

Any additional comments?

The book suggests that the sum total of the fall of man was that there is no "fall of man", merely what the fruit implies....a knowledge of good and evil. That Man still has his power of domination on the earth, his power of the spoken word and control over his thoughts. as before. God still favors and respects what He created, it's merely the internal struggle of Adam's inherited woe within us that suggests otherwise.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Lynnette
  • Lynnette
  • 03-04-12

Sadly disappointing

What disappointed you about Paradise Lost?

The flat, expressionless delivery by narrator Frederick Davidson ruins this beloved classic by making it a string of meaningless words, impossible to follow. A terrible disappointment.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Dean
  • Dean
  • 15-02-11

Great classic piece, audio needs some work

I thoroughly enjoyed the literary significance of the piece. The narrator on this recording was a bit rough. I hope there are better audio versions out there.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for A. Maher
  • A. Maher
  • 27-07-12

Big discrepancy!

Any additional comments?

The audio sample is different from the actual narrator, and I am not enjoying his rendition. I ended up buying a different one (narrated by Simon Vance). Please fix the sample so it is accurate!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for J.B.
  • J.B.
  • 12-06-17

God, Interloping and Satan; All Mixed Together

Paradise Lost, written by: John Milton, and narrated by: Ralph Cosham. Written in about the middle of the 16th Century (about 75 years after Shakespeare’s writings) it retells the story of the Fall of Man. Man, and woman’s undoing by Satan; which results in the expulsion of humanity from the Garden of Eden. Its underlying purpose is to show the way of the Lord – at least how God was thought of in late medieval Europe. To make it more of a challenge and enhancr its enjoyment, It is written in poetic verse.

The poem begins with Satan’s expulsion from the league of Angels and his attempt to seek vengeance by denigrating God’s admiration for man. Satan uses man’s lust for self-interest to dismay God. Yes, it is not only a show of appreciation for the existence of God, as known by the Christian world, but a critical statement of man’s debasement and his need to follow Gods way or perish.

It is one of the world’s most effective and astonishingly brilliant sales pitches. Be an obedient Christian. It works and the opportunity to experience its magnificence should not be missed. You may want to read it once, twice or even three times. There is enough there to keep your interest. Do not worry of a bad reading, because Ralph Cosham is perfect! Could not have been read any better.

Now I am not an advocate of all that Milton espouses. For example: After eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve have lustful interloping. (Why have a forbidden fruit? Why do they need to bear a burden for affection?) Naturally, thereafter they sleep. That’s good. Milton though, speaking on behalf of the Church, gives them nightmares, guilt and shame. The poem makes this an act against God, and instead of appreciating each other they spout mutual recriminations. My gosh. Does not seem to me the preferred method for making happiness in life. With such burdens no wonder our species commits horrors.

Okay, then why do I say this is an absolute read. Because in majestic poetry you are told all one needs to know to understand the western world. Magnificent demonstration of mastery of the Word, good management of playing with English words, and a masterful intermix of thought, values and words.

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  • RF
  • 01-10-12

Book is too hard to Follow.

What would have made Paradise Lost better?

This book is very hard to understand. It is like there was just a bunch of words put together.

Has Paradise Lost turned you off from other books in this genre?

no

What didn’t you like about Ralph Cosham’s performance?

The reading was not the problem it was the writing.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

None

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Eric C. Zawadzki
  • Eric C. Zawadzki
  • 12-05-09

Influential but not very accessible

This book has had a tremendous impact on English literature, and in the 5 hours of listening I did I encountered ideas that are being revisited and reused even in contemporary works. Unfortunately, I found my attention wandering as the verse went on. If it had been a 5 or 6 hour listen, I probably would have been fine, but the antiquated language, poetic form, and high time demand eventually pushed me away. In truth, I generally found the Arguments at the beginning of each section much more interesting than the sections themselves, which was unfortunate.

4 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jose L.
  • 05-01-09

Audible Editor Lost

This is not narrated by Ralph Cosham but by Frederick Davidson. Just thought you ought to know. Coudnt help feel disapointed by that. Not that he's bad or anything, just not what i expected. Should've listened to the sample first. damn.

7 of 15 people found this review helpful