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Opening comments on Paradise Lost 
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DWill wrote:
I like the idea of color illustrations. That's about as far towards making the poem visually literal as I'd want to go, though.


There was a Classic Comics Paradise Lost.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/shorts ... ation.html
-- arguments for simplified classics.

http://fish.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/11/3 ... ist&st=cse
Dennis Danielson's simplified Paradise Lost



Sat Jan 24, 2009 6:45 pm
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Post Andrew Marvell
I just came across this --

On Mr. Milton's "Paradise Lost"
by Andrew Marvell
(1621-1678)

When I beheld the poet blind, yet bold,
In slender book his vast design unfold,
Messiah crowned, God's reconciled decree,
Rebelling Angels, the Forbidden Tree,
Heaven, Hell, Earth, Chaos, all; the argument
Held me a while, misdoubting his intent
That he would ruin (for I saw him strong)
The sacred truth to fable and old song,
(So Sampson groped the temple's posts in spite)
The world o'erwhelming to revenge his sight.

Yet as I read, soon growing less severe,
I liked his project, the success did fear;
Through that wide field how he his way should find
O'er which lame faith leads understanding blind;
Lest he perplexed the things he would explain,
And what was easy he should render vain.

Or if a work so infinite he spanned,
Jealous I was that some less skilful hand
(Such as disquiet always what is well,
And by ill imitating would excel)
Might hence presume the whole creation's day
To change in scenes, and show it in a play.
Pardon me, Mighty Poet, nor despise
My causeless, yet not impious, surmise.
But I am now convinced that none will dare
Within thy labors to pretend a share.
Thou hast not missed one thought that could be fit,
And all that was improper dost omit:
So that no room is here for writers left,
But to detect their ignorance or theft.
That majesty which through thy work doth reign
Draws the devout, deterring the profane.
And things divine thou treat'st of in such state
As them preserves, and thee, inviolate.
At once delight and horror on us seize,
Thou sing'st with so much gravity and ease;
And above human flight dost soar aloft,
With plume so strong, so equal, and so soft.
The bird named from that paradise you sing
So never flags, but always keeps on wing.

Where couldst thou words of such a compass find?
Whence furnish such a vast expanse of mind?
Just heaven thee, like Tiresias, to requite,
Rewards with prophecy the loss of sight.

Well mightst thou scorn thy readers to allure
With tinkling rhyme, of thine own sense secure;
While the Town-Bayes writes all the while and spells,
And like a pack-horse tires without his bells.
Their fancies like our bushy points appear,
The poets tag them; we for fashion wear.
I too, transported by the mode, offend,
And while I meant to praise thee must commend.
The verse created like thy theme sublime,
In number, weight, and measure, needs not rhyme.


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Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:47 pm
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It seems that in 2008 the BBC marked 400 years of John Milton with lots of programing. The first link is to the main BBC page on John Milton.

BBC - John Milton


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Fri Jan 30, 2009 3:42 pm
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Post Re: The Zodiac Design
Thomas Hood wrote:
Milton may have based Paradise on the signs of the zodiac.
Hi Tom, this is a reasonable line of speculation. As you might know I have a strong interest in astrology from a philosophical and rational angle. The way I see your claimed correspondences is that the twelve signs of the zodiac do symbolise the structure of the natural year, with the meanings attributed to each sign corresponding to the climatic rhythm at that time, so Aries, from 22 March to 21 April, symbolises the opening of spring, while Pisces from 22 Feb symbolises the end of winter. This natural rhythm is a permanent feature of our planet encapsulating everything within it, although human artifice has enabled some level of alienation. The point, re Paradise Lost, is that Milton is indeed presenting a mythic cosmology which seeks to provide a comprehensive explanatory narrative - explaining the ways of God to man. Astrology also presents a comprehensive explanatory narrative in terms of the cycle of the seasons. Both have some purchase on reality, some element of accuracy, and so can be legitimately compared. It is not surprising that the twelve symbolic components of the natural year of astrology sun signs can be detected in the structure of Paradise Lost because both are a way of depicting the same ultimate reality of life on earth. Whether as you suggest this was deliberate on Milton's part I am not so sure. RT



Fri Jan 30, 2009 4:05 pm
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Thinking of Paradise Lost as a movie, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie could play Adam and Eve. I can't think who would make a good Satan - I'm thinking historical figures who could play the great deceiver - Goethe, Hitler, Robespierre, Stalin and Mao are names that come to mind. For God, C.S. Lewis, Kepler, Newton, Hildegaard, Jung or Heidegger could be a guide, like Virgil for Dante. Milton's take on Jesus as the eternal Son and the cross as a central symbol of the war of love against evil needs some theological exploration.



Fri Jan 30, 2009 4:42 pm
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Post Re: The Zodiac Design
Robert Tulip wrote:
Thomas Hood wrote:
Milton may have based Paradise on the signs of the zodiac.
Hi Tom, this is a reasonable line of speculation. . . .


Thank you, Robert. I have many lines of speculation :) But if you will dash over to

http://www.fortunecity.com/meltingpot/w ... astes.html

you will find a structural interpretation of a text in terms of the zodiac that cannot be speculation. The fit is too good. Plus, as you are probably aware, every ancient synagogue that has been excavated has contained a mosaic of a zodiac.

My fundamentalist acquaintances, by the way, tell me that the zodiac is the work of the devil :)

Tom



Fri Jan 30, 2009 5:24 pm
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Robert Tulip wrote:
Thinking of Paradise Lost as a movie, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie could play Adam and Eve. I can't think who would make a good Satan

Satan could be Jack Nicolson's crowning role if only he were a younger man. But I'd probably go with someone with matinee-idol good looks, or maybe Russell Crowe.


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Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:56 pm
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Here's something on Milton's impact on the language. He added not only famous phrases, but also vocabulary that we use commonly. He was not unlike Shakespeare in this regard. (The helpful bolds in the original didn't come through.) See the complete article at http://www.christs.cam.ac.uk/milton400/matters.htm

Milton and the English language

Every day we use words and phrases that Milton contributed to the stock of the English language. Like other great writers of his period, he used his knowledge of Latin and other languages to suggest words that might have entered English more organically. The Oxford English Dictionary lists over 600 words which Milton was the first to use (at least as far as we know). Some are typical of the poet who so frequently stretched the language beyond its ordinary limits, and did not enter ordinary usage


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Fri Jan 30, 2009 11:03 pm
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DWill wrote:
Robert Tulip wrote:
Thinking of Paradise Lost as a movie, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie could play Adam and Eve. I can't think who would make a good Satan

Satan could be Jack Nicolson's crowning role if only he were a younger man. But I'd probably go with someone with matinee-idol good looks, or maybe Russell Crowe.


I agree with Robert on Angelina Jolie -- I can't think of anyone who looks the part more -- not Brad though. I am having a harder time thinking of someone to play Adam. How about Hugh Jackman? Russell Crowe as Satan, humm, it has a certain rightness to it.


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Sat Jan 31, 2009 7:22 am
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Post Re: A Tale of Paradise Lost -- a version for children!
Saffron wrote:
Who would have guessed, a children's book version of PL!

Here is a description and review for A Tale of Paradise Lost


I have been rather impressed with Nancy Willard's treatment of Paradise Lost. She retains the sense of high drama of the original work and the beauty of Milton's language when ever possible. It struck me that the story itself reads like so many of today's popular fantasy books that the kids are crazy about. I had my 15 year old daughter read to me the first two books; she loved it! It has been fun to read Willard's prose version while reading the original poem. I have to admit that it has been a help -- knowing the basic story ahead of listening (I have PL on CD) allows me to enjoy the language without having to work hard on following the story line or characters.

I was amused to read this on the book flap: ....Nancy Willard, retells Milton's astonishing poem in a prose adaption that faithfully captures his vivid imagery and cinematic flourish." I guess DWill is not alone in his thinking of PL cinematically!

Now that I am more than half way through Milton's PL I see what a truly remarkable work it is.


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Sat Feb 07, 2009 9:23 am
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