Early Modern Exchanges


The early editions of Paradise Lost

06 March 2019, 4:30 pm–7:30 pm

Illustration for John Milton’s “Paradise Lost“, Paul Gustave Doré 1866

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







UCL Institute of Advanced Studies


IAS Forum
G17, South Wing, Wilkins Building
UCL, Gower St
United Kingdom

by Thomas N. Corns and David Loewenstein

This is an examination of the early publishing history of Paradise Lost. It describes the extant manuscript (of Book One) and analyses its relationship to the first edition. It gives an account of Milton’s familiarity with the Simmons printshop and of the operation of the contract between himself and Samuel Simmons. It considers the complexities in the distribution of the first edition, marked by the multiple retailers and the phased sale of copies. The second edition is addressed in terms of its relationship to the first, and the paper concludes with a brief account of the first few posthumous editions from Simmons’s third edition, then Jacob’s Tonson’s first illustrated edition and the first publication of scholarly annotations, and finally the cheap editions of the early eighteenth century.

All welcome but please register. There will be drinks and discussion after the talk. This event is organised by UCL Early Modern Exchanges, which is part of the Institute of Advanced Studies.

About the Speaker

Thomas Corns

Emeritus Professor of English Literature at Bangor University

His doctoral thesis provided the basis for The Development of Milton's Prose Style, published as the first Oxford English Monograph. He has published mainly on Milton and on the political literature of the mid-seventeenth century. He is an Honored Scholar of the Milton Society of America. Currently he is collaborating with David Loewenstein on a scholarly edition of Paradise Lost, a contribution to the eleven-volume Complete Works of John Milton (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008-), of which, with Gordon Campbell, he is general editor.

More about Thomas Corns