New Books Network

John Milton’s Paradise Lost (1667) is widely recognised as the greatest epic poem in the English language – and it is buried in the...

John Milton’s Paradise Lost (1667) is widely recognised as the greatest epic poem in the English language – and it is buried in the commentary of thousands of other texts. William Poole, who is John Galsworthy Fellow and Tutor in English at New College, Oxford, has written what will be recognised as one of the most important contributions to this formidable body of scholarship. Milton and the Making of Paradise Lost (Harvard University Press, 2017) offers a new account of the author and of his best-known work. Structured in two parts, and with short but determinedly focused chapters, Poole’s new book reconstructs the intellectual world within which Milton began to read towards his greatest project, and comments upon the poem to illustrate the variety and capacity of its author’s intellectual range. Pulling together biography and criticism, Poole’s new book is an outstanding and superbly resourceful achievement – and one that will help many new readers to discover this greatest of literary texts.


Crawford Gribben is a professor of history at Queen’s University Belfast. His research interests focus on the history of puritanism and evangelicalism, and he is the author most recently of John Owen and English Puritanism (Oxford University Press, 2016).