The only surviving manuscript of Paradise Lost published for the very first time by independent publisher SP Books.
Independent publisher SP Books has released the only surviving manuscript of John Milton’s Paradise Lost in book form for the very first time, alongside 12 iconic William Blake illustrations.
The manuscript, which corresponds to Book I of the poem, consists of 33 pages written between 1658 and 1663 and is the only surviving witness of the fascinating process behind the writing of Paradise Lost. Milton had by that point been blind since 1652 and composed in bed, at night or early in the morning. He ‘sat leaning backwards obliquely in an easy chair, with his leg flung over the elbow of it’ to dictate the poem, verbally correcting the transcripts as they were read back to him by members of his family, as well as friends such as the English poet and satirist Andrew Marvell.
The manuscript appears to be a fair copy by a professional scribe, compiled from drafts supplied by Milton’s various helpers. Supervised by Milton, corrections to the manuscript are present in five different hands. Further information about the volume is available at spbooks.com and via social media @spbooksofficial and @saints.peres.