1668 Edition

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John Milton

Paradise Lost.

London: Printed, and are to be sold by Peter Parker under Creed Church neer Aldgate; and by Robert Boulter at theTurks Head in Bishopsgate-street; and Matthias Walker, under St. Dunstons Church in Fleet-street, 1668.

Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1912

PML 19262

The bibliographer Hugh Amory argues persuasively for this being the earliest issue of the first edition of Paradise Lost (despite its title page, dated 1668), in which the anonymous author is identified only by his initials, "J. M." Similarly, the author is identified in the Stationers' Register on 20 August 1667 by his initials only. Amory speculates that Samuel Simmons, the printer and publisher of the first edition, decided against using Milton's full name on the title page "as the day of publication approached," substituting this version on which the author remained anonymous. Simmons's faltering confidence is understandable because Milton, a prominent supporter of regicide (he defended the execution of Charles I), was still widely regarded as a dangerous radical when Paradise Lost was first published.