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.
John Milton (1608–1674)
Paradise Lost. A Poem in Ten Books. The Author John Milton.
London: Printed by S. Simmons, and to be sold by S. Thomson
at the Bishops-Head in Duck-lane, H. Mortlack at the White
Hart in Westminster Hall, M. Walker under St. Dunstans
Church in Fleet-street, and R. Boulter at the Turks-Head in
Bishopsgate street, 1668.
PML 60558. Gift of Caroline Newton, 1970.
When Charles II was restored to the English throne in 1660,
he issued a proclamation calling for two of Milton's books to
be publicly burned by the hangman. This is a magnificent association
copy, bound in full contemporary red morocco and
stamped in gilt with the cipher of Charles II, consisting of
crowned Cs and palm leaves in five of the six spine panels. The
endpapers also bear a watermark with the arms of Charles II.
The royal binding is attributed to Samuel Mearne. The gilt
stamped spine reads Paradice Lost, the title as it was entered in
the Stationers' Register on 20 August 1667. This copy has the
1667 title page bound, as printed, at the end.