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Opening comments on Paradise Lost 
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Post Opening comments on Paradise Lost
First, here is a link to an electronic copy of Paradise Lost.

Paradise Lost with notes

And second, the poem is written in 12 "books"; a discussion thread will be set up for each one. As a way to approach this imposing poem, we thought each thread would begin with a summary of the "book" to be discussed. If anyone has any ideas that would make this forum better or more conducive to discussing the poem, please, chime in!

Saffron
p.s. Tag, DWill, your it!



Fri Jan 16, 2009 7:57 pm
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I found a wonderful reading of the first part of Paradise Lost by Milton Read by Ian Richardson on YouTube.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbOAz2-0BBM&feature=related[/youtube]



Fri Jan 16, 2009 8:11 pm
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Good luck to all, you will need it. I am apt to watch but want of contribution on this one. Have you ever done any Shakespeare yet on this forum?

:book:



Fri Jan 16, 2009 8:39 pm
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No Shakespeare yet.



Fri Jan 16, 2009 9:52 pm
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Any plays at all?

:book:



Fri Jan 16, 2009 10:16 pm
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Grim wrote:
Any plays at all?

:book:


Funny you should ask. Just the other day DWill mentioned to me about trying to open a discussion about a work of drama; I even emailed Chris about it. Let's see how Paradise Lost goes and then maybe give a play a try. Any suggestions on what we might have a crack at?


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Sat Jan 17, 2009 7:55 am
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I thought the poem could be made more interesting if people offered their own ideas and resources they've found related to PL. For example, my daughter, who is a great fantasy genre reader, says that Phillip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" reworks PL themes and has a band of rebel angels. There should be a graphic novel of PL.

I was interested in the reception given PL on publication. I found that the poem wasn't a good seller until 1788, 14 years after the publication of the complete poem in 1774. What did the trick was illustrations, which PL seems so suited for. I wonder what Milton, long dead, would have thought of that! I imagine he would have disdained such a tactic (not to mention having no idea of the quality of the pictures!). Here is the background on publication, which I think you might find interesting.

http://www.christs.cam.ac.uk/darknessvi ... ation.html



Sat Jan 17, 2009 9:18 am
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DWill wrote:
I thought the poem could be made more interesting if people offered their own ideas and resources they've found related to PL. For example, my daughter, who is a great fantasy genre reader, says that Phillip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" reworks PL themes and has a band of rebel angels. There should be a graphic novel of PL.


No graphic novel, as of yet. It does seem that it would lend itself well to that format. As I was looking, I came across a blog that the person said he was taking a class on Milton and they read, round-robin, the entire poem; it took 9 1/2 hours!

Here is a list I found on Wikipedia of literary connections to PL (DWill, I bet your daughter has read the Sandman series):

In literature

* Much of the mystic poetry of William Blake is a direct response to or rewriting of Paradise Lost. Blake emphasized the rebellious, satanic elements of the epic; the repressive character Urizen in the Four Zoas is a tyrannical version of Milton's God. In addition to his famous quip in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell about Milton belonging to the devil's party, Blake wrote Milton: a Poem which has Milton, like Satan, rejecting a life in Heaven.

* Paradise Lost influenced Mary Shelley when she wrote her novel Frankenstein, in the 1810s; she included a quotation from book X on the title page, and it is one of three books Dr. Frankenstein's monster finds which influences his psychological growth.

* In his controversial novel, The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie adapts major motifs and plot elements from Paradise Lost, such as a "fall" and subsequent transformation.

* The epic was also one of the prime inspirations for Philip Pullman's trilogy of novels His Dark Materials (itself a quotation from Book II of Paradise Lost). In Pullman's introduction, he adapts Blake's line to quip that he himself "is of the Devil's party and does know it."

* Libba Bray uses a quote from Paradise Lost to name the second book of her trilogy, Rebel Angels quoting from it "To reign is worth ambition though in Hell: Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heav'n."

* In his epic Sandman comics/graphic novels series, Neil Gaiman uses Lucifer as a a character, most notably in the Season of Mists arc/collection, and makes reference to the poem, even having Lucifer openly quote Milton.

* In the 20th anniversery collection of Garfield comics, "Garfield: 20 Years and still Kicking", Jim Davis mentioned that Odie Never had to read "Paradise Lost"


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Sat Jan 17, 2009 9:32 am
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Well my top three playwright chocies would undoubtably be:

Aurther Miller

George Bernard Shaw

William Shakespeare

I have also read some of the play of Oscar Wilde but they were less engaging than the works of Shaw or Miller. I've been planning on reading more of Henrik Johan Ibsen specifically An Enemy of the People and Samuel Beckett specifically Waiting for Gadot.

What are you interested in, in terms of plays?

:book:



Sat Jan 17, 2009 12:08 pm
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Post Re: Opening comments on Paradise Lost
Saffron wrote:
First, here is a link to an electronic copy of Paradise Lost.

Paradise Lost with notes

And second, the poem is written in 12 "books"; . . .


SparkNotes for Paradise Lost is at
http://www.sparknotes.com/poetry/paradi ... ntext.html

SparkNotes says:
"Milton continued to dictate Paradise Lost for several years, finishing in 1667 when it was first published in ten books. Milton soon returned to revise his epic, redividing it into twelve books (as the classical epics were divided), and publishing it in its authoritative second edition form in 1671."

The Gutenberg version is apparently the original 10-book version. Saffron's Dartmouth version has the 12 books and should be our standard.

Why did Milton rewrite Paradise Lost? I suspect for reasons of irenic Hermeticism.

10-book version: to accord with the 10 commandments.
12-book version: to accord with the zodiac.

Milton, I am surprised to learn, was a radically liberal guy. He came to believe in full freedom of conscience without institutional religion. I had no idea.

Tom



Sat Jan 17, 2009 9:37 pm
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Tom
Quote:
Why did Milton rewrite Paradise Lost? I suspect for reasons of irenic Hermeticism.


I was actually going to post the very question. Now, Tom, you just need to define irenic Hermeticism for me.


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Sat Jan 17, 2009 10:38 pm
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Saffron wrote:
Tom
Quote:
Why did Milton rewrite Paradise Lost? I suspect for reasons of irenic Hermeticism.


I was actually going to post the very question. Now, Tom, you just need to define irenic Hermeticism for me.


Irenic Hermeticism was the peace movement of the 1600's inspired by the mysticism of the The Corpus Hermeticum. A familiar example of such peace literature is Religio Medici. Basically, "The letter killeth but the spirit giveth life." If the important thing is the quality of the inner life, why kill each other over doctrinal differences? Dee and Bruno were advocates.



Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:00 pm
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Thanks for selecting Paradise Lost. I hope to contribute. At the moment, I am preparing some comments on Niebuhr's Faith and History. Seeing how Niebuhr returns to central ideas from Milton, echoed by Bacevich in The Limits of Power, it is intriguing how Milton's eschatology of Fall and Redemption recurs as the core mythic motif for western civilization. Niebuhr picks this cosmology up in his critique of the modern fetish of control. Milton of course was a puritan, a close ally of Oliver Cromwell and the iconoclasts. As such, his great cosmology of Paradise Lost provides a mythic narrative storyline for themes which were dear to the hearts of the American pilgrims on the Mayflower. I firmly believe that a nation retains at its core the ideas which gave impetus to its foundation. Therefore the puritan ideas of holiness and providence have a hold on the American psyche, and a depth of emotional rejection by those at the receiving end of puritanical hypocrisy. Both sides of this American identity can be hard for outsiders and insiders to see. I wonder if we can find in Milton some clue to the fervour and nature of American religiosity? RT



Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:27 pm
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Robert Tulip wrote:
Milton of course was a puritan, a close ally of Oliver Cromwell and the iconoclasts.


Robert, Milton outgrew the legalism of the Puritans, Cromwell, and the iconoclasts.



Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:38 pm
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Thomas Hood wrote:
Irenic Hermeticism was the peace movement of the 1600's inspired by the mysticism of the The Corpus Hermeticum. A familiar example of such peace literature is Religio Medici. Basically, "The letter killeth but the spirit giveth life." If the important thing is the quality of the inner life, why kill each other over doctrinal differences? Dee and Bruno were advocates.
Tom, you are such an esotericist! Good on you. Giordano Bruno was burnt at the stake in Rome for his belief that the one true religion came from Egypt. John Dee was the astrologer to Queen Elizabeth and a Christian Platonist. Regarding irenic hermeticism, Isaac Newton was possibly the exemplar, with his translation of the Emerald Tablets of Thoth.



Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:41 pm
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