Paradise Lost Illustrated


I've always thought that Paradise Lost would make one incredible film if anyone could be found to soar "with no middle flight" in pursuit of "things unattempted yet" on the silver screen.  Or would it be best as a lavish Disney animation?  Couldn't those who put together Fantasia give us a suitable Satan rising up off the burning lake, while "on each hand the flames / Driven backward slope their pointing spires, and rolled / In billows, leave i' th' midst a horrid vale"?  It's a scary thought, but maybe with their technical know-how and some effective supervision . . . ?

But short of a Ben Hur or Fantasia style Paradise Lost, we have at least the painters' renditions of this great epic, which I hope to collect here at one website.   Eventually I would like to include explanatory text and background on the different sets of illustrations.  If you are interested in providing such, please let me know.   Thus far it is only a beginning, but suggestions, sources, and comments are welcome at  Don Ulin at

The illustrations



  • Behrendt, Stephen C. The Moment of Explosion: Blake and the Illustration of Milton. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1983.
  • Davies, J. M. Q. Blake's Milton Designs : the Dynamics of Meaning. West Cornwall, CT : Locust Hill Press, 1993.
  • Dickson, Lloyd. "Against the Wiles of the Devil: Carlotta Petrina's Christocentric Illustrations of Paradise Lost."  Milton Studies 25 (1989), 161-195.
  • Klawitter George. "John Martin's Revolution and Grandeur: A New Direction for Milton's Early Illustrators," Explorations in Renaissance Culture (1998) 91-117.  (See "Iconography of Paradise Lost" above.)
  • Pointon, Marcia R.  Milton and English Art.  Manchester: Manchester U.P., 1970.
  • Werner, Bette Charlene. Blake's Vision of the Poetry of Milton: Illustrations to Six Poems. Lewisburg : Bucknell University Press, 1986.