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Paradise lost. A Poem in Ten Books. The Author J.M.
London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker; and by Robert Boulter; and Matthias Walker, 1668 - Small quarto (173 x 126 mm). Sometime skilfully rebound to style in old sprinkled sheep, unlettered, double blind rules. Housed in a brown quarter morocco solander box by the Chelsea Bindery. Margins trimmed without text loss though touching top rule border on a few leaves, contents generally clean, title leaf with single tiny wormhole at top, bottom edge slightly shaved, and fore edge reinforced on verso, overall very good. Without the initial blank. First edition, with Amory's first issue title page. The bibliographer Hugh Amory argues for this being the earliest issue of the first edition of Paradise Lost (despite its title page, dated 1668), in which the anonymous author is identified only by his initials, "J.M." This is the same form by which the author is identified in the Stationers' Register, 20 August 1667. Amory speculates that Samuel Simmons, the printer and publisher of the first edition, decided against using Milton's full name on the title page "as the day of publication approached", substituting this version on which the author remained anonymous. Simmons's faltering confidence is understandable because Milton, a prominent supporter of regicide (specifically the execution of Charles I), was still widely regarded as a dangerous radical when Paradise Lost was first published. The contract for the publication of Paradise Lost between Milton and the stationer Samuel Simmons is the earliest agreement between an author and a publisher for which there exists documentary evidence. Sealed on 27 April 1667, it specifies a first edition of 1,300 copies. The first edition did not finally sell out until the spring of 1669, and six successive title pages were used to promote its sale in that time. These are traditionally described as six distinct issues, though there is no discernible relationship between the states of the titles and the settings of the preliminaries, and so "issue" is over-specific. Some copies have seven additional preliminary leaves, A4 (-A1) a4. These were probably printed later in the year and were either added by the original owners after their purchase of the text, or are present as later sophistications. Grolier English 33; Grolier W–P 599; Hayward 72; Pforzheimer 716; Wing M2138. For details on states of title page and preliminaries see The Library, ser. 4, XXII: 34–66. [Attributes: First Edition]
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington. ABA member]
Last Found On: 2017-12-12           Check availability:      ZVAB    


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