A Preface to Paradise Lost: Being the Ballard Matthews Lectures Delivered at University College, North Wales, 1941 Paperback – May 1 1980
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"An essential work in understanding both the literary approach of C.S. Lewis and the theological assumptions of Paradise Lost. Unparalleled in its conciseness."--I.S. Maclean, James Madison University
"Still the most lucid, useful, entertaining introduction to Milton's poem anyone has contrived to write. Traditional literary criticism at its best."--Lance E. Wilcox, Elmhurst College
About the Author
C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) was an Irish author and scholar of mixed Irish, English, and Welsh ancestry. Lewis is known for his work on medieval literature, Christian apologetics and fiction, especially the childrens series entitled The Chronicles of Narnia and his science fiction Space Trilogy.
Top Customer Reviews
The problem with this otherwise superlative and certainly indispensable essay is that Lewis, taken with his vision of a common "mere Christianity" embracing Protestants, Anglicans, Catholics and Orthodox, simply misses the extent and significance of Milton's sectarian and heretical opinions. Sure, he knows that Milton was a sort of modified follower of Arius, who denied the divinity of Jesus - that is, that he stood at the outer edges of what is permissible for a Christian to believe - but he does not seem to understand that the consistently materializing imagination of Milton, that almost transforms the Trinity and the Angels into Greek Gods, was a typically Protestant and sectarian reaction against Catholic theology and especially against Thomism, with its wholly spiritual view of Angels.Read more ›
I have a hard time labeling this as a 'preface'; Lewis was obviously writing to the learned elite at Cambridge, not to new readers of Milton. But Lewis does an excellent job of explaining Milton's worldview and how it works in Paradise Lost. His chapters on Primary and Secondary Epics, Miton and St. Augustine, and Hierarchy are EXTREMELY helpful. (Particularly the helpful to American readers is the Hierarchy chapter; we just don't understand what it means to live under and totally submit to a king or emperor.)
I highly recommend this to readers of Lewis or fans of Medieval and Renaissance literature.
Most recent customer reviews
Lewis' interpretation of Satan makes absolutely no sense to anyone who knows the poem - until, that is, you realize that Lewis really believes in the devil and can't stomach the... Read morePublished on Oct. 11 2003
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