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Paradise Lost

Keats and Milton: Paradise Lost

  • 6 December 2017 – 25 November 2018
  • Entry included with admission price

John Keats considered John Milton to be one of the greatest writers of all time. Throughout 1818 Keats read and heavily annotated his copy of Paradise Lost, leaving an extraordinary record of how one visionary poet was influenced by another.

Read Keats’s thoughts as he underscored and scribbled across Milton’s verse, beautifully preserved and providing a unique opportunity to see the poet’s response to one of the greatest epic poems ever written. Highlighted sections of the poem are on display, as well as a complete reproduction of the two volumes for those interested in browsing more deeply.

Paradise Lost was published 350 years ago in 1667 and the dramatic poem about the fall of Adam and Eve was a powerful influence on Keats and his fellow Romantic poets.

In the 19th century, ‘marginalia’ was considered an important form of literary expression and a route to understanding literary works and sharing views about them. Keats’s notes show him developing his own poetic interests. He’s drawn to the poem’s rich visual images, its sensuous language and its poignant descriptions of suffering, all themes that resonate through his own work.

The exhibition is in the Gallery on the first floor, accessible only by stairs.

The original volumes of Keats’s annotated copy of Paradise Lost are on display in John Keats’s Parlour, on the ground floor with step-free access.


​Mary Shelley's lost story

An exhibition of artworks by Louisa Amelia Albani, inspired by Mary Shelley's story 'Maurice or The Fisher's Cot'.

Mary Shelley’s 'Maurice or The Fisher’s Cot', written in 1820, was published in 1998, a year after the tale was found hidden away in a library packing case, in an ancient house deep in the Apennine hills of Italy. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of its first publication, this art project uses an abridged version of the text to bring the story alive again for a new generation of readers, young and old.


07 December 2017
Last Modified:
20 September 2018