A Variorum Commentary on the Poems of John Milton: Volume 5, Part 4 [Paradise Lost, Book 4]

A Variorum Commentary on the Poems of John Milton: Volume 5, Part 4 [Paradise Lost, Book 4]

Cheryl H. Fresch $85.00

Published in 2011 | 575 pages | cloth | ISBN: 978-0-8207-0442-5


This book is currently out of print, however a reprint may be possible for faculty/class adoptions, subject to minimum quantities. Please contact our print and fulfillment partner XanEdu Custom Publishing for more information: (800) 218-5971 ext. 8000.


“A rich trove on Book 4 of Paradise Lost, Fresch maintains a more measured tone and objective stance than some of her predecessors and provides balance to the ever-growing body of work on Milton’s prose and his life and times.  A specific benefit of the book is as a reference for interpretive cruxes; a wider benefit is the reception history revealed.  An impressive achievement of scholarship.” —Milton Quarterly

“A generous and judicious selection [of commentary]. . . . Fresch presents this wealth of material with elegant economy.  [She] clearly seems delighted with all delight in Milton’s Paradise; she has done both her predecessors and her author proud.” — Sixteenth Century Journal

“For the connoisseur . . . , it represents a rare and delicious treat. The reader comes away with a sharpened consciousness of past criticism’s role in molding the opinions of the present and also, as the editors hoped, with a deepened respect for the long and illustrious tradition of Milton commentary.” —SEL Studies in English Literature, 1500–1900

“Fresch addresses the broader critical matters of a section of the poem and then follows each broader discussion with appropriate close analysis of specific technical and interpretive issues. . . . [L]audably user-friendly. This truly is an outstanding volume, one that I would urge every academic library—and every individual Miltonist who can afford it—to purchase.” — Review of English Studies

Book Information:

This variorum edition of the poem, the first part to appear on Paradise Lost, presents a comprehensive and detailed narrative survey of the critical responses to Paradise Lost, book 4, from 1695 through 1970. From notes on individual words or phrases to lengthy essays on the characters, setting, action, and themes of book 4, the variorum reveals the ever-changing and enduring topics of scholarly concern to readers of this book of Paradise Lost for nearly 300 years.

This indispensable reference tool efficiently, conveniently, and succinctly presents the most important commentary of Milton's earliest editors and critics. It demonstrates the historical development of Milton scholarship as Fresch's narrative overview relates that recovered critical material to the twentieth century criticism on Paradise Lost, book 4. It traces the rise and fall, and sometimes the endurance, of a variety of approaches to Milton's text—from source studies to reader-response criticism. Gathering, organizing, and clarifying the criticism from 1695 through 1970, this volume establishes a point of departure, a stepping-off place for future critical inquiries. This critical variorum insists that while much is known, much still remains to be known about the fourth book of Paradise Lost, 1969-1988.

Author Information:

CHERYL H. FRESCH is retired from the University of New Mexico, where she was a member of the English faculty for over 25 years. A lifetime member of the Milton Society of America, her articles on Milton and on Paradise Lost, in particular, have appeared in Milton Studies, Milton Quarterly, Christianity and Literary Studies, and Modern Language Quarterly.

P.J. KLEMP is professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.  The general editor of A Variorum Commentary on the Poems of John Milton, he is the author of The Essential Milton: An Annotated Bibliography of Major Modern Studies; Paradise Lost: An Annotated Bibliography, and editor of The Faerie King and John Milton: An Annotated Bibliography, 1969-1988.


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