Paradise Lost, by John MiltonRead about the other entries on the list.
Milton’s epic poem about the Fall of Man and Adam and Eve’s Eden eviction introduces the whole concept of death personified. It is not a flattering depiction. In Book II of Paradise Lost, we get the heinous familial backstory that produced Death: while in Heaven, Sin sprang from her father, Satan, who in turn raped his daughter to produce a son, Death, who himself rapes his mother to beget the pack of hell hounds ringing her waist. The three form, essentially, an Unholy Trinity. It’s allegory, it’s grotesque, it’ll stick with you.
Milton is on Stuart Kelly's list of five great darknesses in literature.
Satan from Paradise Lost is among the 50 greatest villains in literature according to the (London) Telegraph and appears on John Mullan's list of ten of the best devils in literature.
Paradise Lost also appears on Mullan's lists of ten of the best snakes in literature, ten of the best pieces of fruit in literature, ten of the best visions of hell in literature, ten of the best angels in literature, ten of the best visions of heaven in literature, ten of the best walled gardens in literature, and ten of the best coups de foudre in literature. It is also on Diane Purkiss' critic's chart of the best books on the English Civil War and Peter Stanford's list of the ten best devils in literature.