Saturday, March 05, 2011

London and its Environs -- a 'Paradise' Lost?

"A copy of John Milton's Paradise Lost,
which is believed to be the only book
known to have the signatures of two founding fathers,
Thomas Jefferson and James Madison."

An article by Lisa M. Krieger, originally written for the San Jose Mercury News (apparently), was reprinted in the Korea Herald as "Rare book collection on display at Stanford" (March 3, 2011) and caught my eye with these words:
Highlights of the exhibit include a copy of John Milton's "Paradise Lost," the only book known to have been signed both by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, close friends and political collaborators.

"We don't know what the back story is," Winterer said. "Was it owned by Jefferson, and lent to Madison? Or owned by Madison, and lent to Jefferson?"

Then there’s this mystery: "Why did Madison sign it five different times?" [Lisa M. Krieger, Korea Herald, March 4, 2011, page 16 (hard copy)]
That did intrigue me, but my eye was caught again, and the mystery deepened, as I looked at the illustrative photograph with its caption, shown above, which indicates that Thomas Jefferson -- or possibly James Madison, at least one of those five signifying times -- signed off as John Hancock on this copy of 'Paradise Lost.'

Somebody at the Korea Herald seems to have a high opinion of London and its Environs . . . perhaps an expat Englishman, some displaced Londoner forever lamenting his lost paradise?

Meanwhile, the truth is out there . . .

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At 9:05 AM, Blogger Carter Kaplan said...

That illustration has the wrong caption. That is not Paradise Lost, and that is John Hancock's signature.

Now, what other marks did Jefferson and/or Madison make in the text of Paradise Lost, and in the vicinity of which passages did they place their names?

I am putting together an essay for Emanations describing Miltonic antecedents to American political theory. From Milton to Hawthorne to, well, Wittgenstein, actually...

Also, I may have landed an essay on Wittgenstein and shamanism by one of the leading W. scholars. More on this development later.

(Jeffery, did the copy of Diogenes arrive?)


At 11:15 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

"That illustration has the wrong caption. That is not Paradise Lost, and that is John Hancock's signature."

Right. That was what I was drawing attention to in my post, i.e., that the Korea Herald made an embarrassing mistake.

I don't know the answer to your question, but you might click on the link for more details.

Good to hear that Emanations is moving along well.

Yes, the copy did arrive. I've been too busy to acknowledge it. I hope to read it soon . . . if I can find time.

Jeffery Hodges

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