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
- William Blake (1808) -- Nine thumbnail images from Books
III, IV (2), V, VI, VIII, IX, and XII (2), all linked to larger images (from
the 1940 edition from Heritage Press, edited by Philip Hofer).
- The Iconography of Paradise
Lost (courtesy George Klawitter, St. Edwards University) includes the
- Terrance Lindall retrospective at the Williamsburg Art and Historical Center the most recent illustrations here, published as a book in 1982 and also in Heavy Metal Magazine.
- English 0203 (British Literature Survey) Class illustrations
of Milton's universe
- Behrendt, Stephen C. The Moment of Explosion: Blake and the
Illustration of Milton. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska
- 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.