1777 Edition

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John Milton

Paradise Lost: A poem, in Twelve Books. The Author John Milton. With the life of Milton. By Thomas Newton,D.D. [Eight lines from Thomson]

Philadelphia: Printed by Robert Bell, in Third-Street, 1777.Vol. I.

Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1911

PML 17358

Over a century after the first publication of Paradise Lost in London, the Philadelphia printer Robert Bell, perhaps inspired by the Revolution, ignored British copyright and published this two-volume edition of Milton's work. This is the extremely rare first American edition, in contemporary sheep binding with a frontispiece portrait engraving by John Norman, to which a previous owner has added a moustache in ink. Milton had long enjoyed a high reputation in this country. Thomas Jefferson, like many of his contemporaries, regarded Milton as one of the greatest poets of the English language. In his essay "Thoughts on English Prosody," he declared blank verse to be "the most precious part of our poetry," citing the opening of Paradise Lost as an example.