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The Essential John Milton

By: John Milton
Narrated by: Anton Lesser,Samantha Bond,Derek Jacobi
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Editor reviews

The incomparable Derek Jacobi is completely in his element when reading Milton. His performance of the sonnet "On Shakespeare" seems particularly well suited to his voice, which is so closely associated with the Bard. Samantha Bond is equally comfortable with Milton's verse, and the two work well together in the selections that call for two voices. While PARADISE LOST is, no doubt, Milton's most well-known masterpiece, this recording includes only brief selections from it, totaling less than seven minutes. This is a wise editorial choice as it leaves room for some shorter and more accessible poems that showcase the work of these outstanding narrators.

Summary

This thoughtful collection of John Milton's finest poetry marks the quarter centenary of the poet's birth in 1608. It is read by several of Britain's foremost classical actors, including Anton Lesser, Samantha Bond, and Derek Jacobi.

Milton's uncompromising views set him firmly on the side of Cromwell, putting his life in danger when the Stuart monarchy was restored. But he is now remembered for Paradise Lost and a strong collection of other poetry which influenced successive generations. This collection offers an ideal overview, including the complete Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained, excerpts from other major works, including Comus and Samson Agonistes, as well as sonnets and famous shorter poems such as "On his blindness", plus a biography of Milton.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2008 Naxos Audiobooks (P)2008 Naxos Audiobooks

Critic reviews

"A tribute that should stand as a model for how to do a great writer honour....read by Anton Lesser, who excels as the doomed but magnificently heroic Lucifer." (The Times, London)

What listeners say about The Essential John Milton

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A Good Introduction To The Life And Work Of Milton

As a complete novice, to the life and works of John Milton. I found this collection of his writings excellent. Some of the works are shortened versions ( such as "Paradise Lost" ),
but this helped me ease into his writing and now I want to read the complete "Paradise Lost". The various narrators are first rate and bring an excellence to this recording.

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superb narration of absorbing poetry

these are powerful themes, beautifully expressed whether you are religious or secular. Anton lesser has masterly narration of the variations on parts

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  • BarneyBM
  • 14-11-20

2/3 of the performers here are absolutely great.

This is an odd collection of FRAGMENTS (not complete works) of John Milton. For example, Books I and II of Paradise Lost are complete, while Book III (and most others) get only synopses. Obviously, the "good parts" get full readings. There are also duplicate fragments (like when a totally different reader gives the same opening lines of Paradise Lost). There are many shorter poems and sonnets and also fragments of the prose works, plus a biography.

Anton Lesser and Samantha Bond are absolutely fantastic. I would actually say perfect beyond belief. I've heard a number of prominent actors read Milton's poetry. But I have never heard the sensitivity, understanding, and dramatic intensity that Lesser and Bond provide. They are truly remarkable.

On the other hand, Derek Jacobi sounds like a one-dimensional pompous boor who shouts or sneers his way through every part he reads.

This title is definitely worth getting to hear the excellent performances of Anton Lesser and Samantha Bond.

6 people found this helpful