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Paradise Lost is one of the greatest epic poems in the English language.
It tells the story of the Fall of Man, a tale of immense drama and excitement, of rebellion and treachery, of innocence pitted against corruption, in which God and Satan fight a bitter battle for control of mankind's destiny.
The struggle ranges across three worlds - heaven, hell, and earth - as Satan and his band of rebel angels plot their revenge against God.
At the centre of theconflict are Adam and Eve, motivated by all too human temptations, but whose ultimate downfall is unyielding love.Milton's influence has been felt by many writers since, none more so in recent times than the novelist Philip Pullman.
His acclaimed trilogy His Dark Materials takes it title from a line in the poem, and the worlds he created for Lyra and Will have entranced readers across generations.
His introduction to the poem is a tribute that is both personal and full of insight; his enthusiasm for Milton's language, his skill, and his supreme gifts as a storyteller is infectious andinstructive.
He encourages readers above all to experience the poem for themselves, and surrender to its enchantment.
Philip Pullman is the author of numerous children's books, and most famously the trilogy His Dark Materials, popular with both children and adults.
His Dark Materials has been adapted for the stage and performed at the National Theatre, London in 2003 and 2004.
The first part of the trilogy, The Golden Compass,was released as a film in 2007 starring Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman.