The English Short Title Catalog Entry for Milton's Paradise Lost, ed. prin., 1667, and rev. ed., 1674

ESTC System No.   006106373
ESTC Citation No.   R9505
Author - personal   LinkMilton, John, 1608-1674.
Title   LinkParadise lost. A poem written in ten books by John Milton. Licensed and entred according to order.
Publisher/year   LinkLondon : printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker under Creed Church neer Aldgate; and by Robert Boulter at the Turks Head in Bishopsgate-street; and Matthias Walker, under St. Dunstons Church in Fleet-street, 1667.
Physical descr.   [344] p. ;  4o.
ESTC System No.   006079046
ESTC Citation No.   R13351
Author - personal   LinkMilton, John, 1608-1674.
Title   LinkParadise lost. A poem in twelve books. The author John Milton.
Edition   The second edition revised and augmented by the same author.
Publisher/year   LinkLondon : printed by S. Simmons next door to the Golden Lion in Aldersgate-street, 1674.
Physical descr.   [8], 333, [3] p. ;  8o
General note   In verse.
  Many copies of this edition include a copy of the Dolle engraving of the Faithorne portrait as a frontispiece. Cf. Coleridge.
  The first edition and its reissues were divided into ten books rather than the twelve found in the later editions.
  Includes commendatory poems by S.B. in Latin and by Andrew Marvell in English.
  The last leaf is blank.

        Beginning in 1667, this poem was reproduced in two or more printings a year in its quarto, ten-book form until 1669, after which the presses are silent for five years.  This probably was because copies of the quarto edition had flooded the market and finally saturated it, so that booksellers had enough unsold copies on hand to prevent them from funding another edition.  Then, in 1674, the year of Milton's death, he published a revised edition that broke the ten-book text into two additional books (dividing the first edition's Book X into X, XI, and XII).  What effect was he seeking from this subdivision of the aftermath of Book IX's Fall?

        Note also that the twelve-book revised edition introduced the paragraphs of prose summary before each book, rather like Ben Jonson's plays' prologues to explain the complex action and prepare readers to appreciate how the poem accomplished its plot.  Finally, the two dedicatory poems give an interesting insight into the range of readers Milton was engaging, from Latin-literate university wits like "S.B." to the English-literate audience whose doubts about Milton's rewriting of Genesis Marvell attempts to calm.

        Amid all the Milton editions ESTC records for the period 1667-1700, the following related work suggests how quickly Milton's diction was aging even while his poetic ambition continued to challenge readers who were willing to pay for a printed "tutor" to help them make the allusive connections earlier readers apparently were catching without aid:

ESTC System No.   006078340
ESTC Citation No.   R12702
Author - personal   LinkHume, Patrick, fl. 1695.
Title   LinkAnnotations on Milton’s Paradise lost. Wherein the texts of sacred writ, relating to the poem, are quoted; the parallel places and imitations of the most excellent Homer and Virgil, cited and compared; all the obscure parts render’d in phrases more familiar; the old and obsolete words, with their originals, explain’d and made easie to the English reader. By P.H. Philopoiētēs.
Publisher/year   LinkLondon : printed for Jacob Tonson, at the Judges Head near the Inner-Temple-Gate in Fleet-street, MDCXCV. [1695]
Physical descr.   [2], 321, [1] p. ;  2o.

By the 1700s, fully annotated editions of Paradise Lost were standard, with footnotes climbing from the foot of the page toward its head, often reducing to two or three the printed lines of the poem, itself.