Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books.
By John Milton.
London: Printed, and are to be sold by Peter Parker under Creed Church neer Aldgate; and by Robert Boulter at the Turks Head in Bishopsgate-street; and Matthias Walker, under St. Dunstons Church in Fleet-street.
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan
As sales of the book improved, and perhaps after the royal library had accepted a presentation copy (the king's copy is displayed in the next case), Simmons's anxiety subsided, and he began to draw from the stock of alternative title pages. Milton's full name was retained on the title pages of the first edition in 1668 and 1669. The book was never issued with a frontispiece portrait of the author. The portrait that appears opposite the title pages of these copies is William Dolle's engraving (after William Faithorne's painting of Milton), published in the second and third editions (1674 and 1678), and inserted into these copies of the first edition at a later date.
To celebrate the four-hundredth anniversary of the birth of John Milton (1608–1674), The Morgan Library & Museum is pleased to present the only surviving manuscript of Paradise Lost, Book 1. This epic poem is considered Milton's greatest artistic achievement and one of the finest works of the human imagination. Acquired by Pierpont Morgan in 1904, it is the most important British literary manuscript in the collection. The 33-page manuscript has been temporarily disbound, providing an opportunity to see more of its pages than ever before. Also in this presentation are first editions of Paradise Lost printed in England and the United States during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and a rarely seen miniature portrait of the poet.
This exhibition is made possible through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Rudy L. Ruggles, Jr.
Photography by Graham Haber.