11 Responses

  1. Amateur Reader
    Amateur Reader May 24, 2010 at 10:15 am |

    Not that I’m happy about your cold, but it means that I finally caught up with you.

    I can tell you one way that I am asking different questions than you – I never use “Milton was saying we should” phrasing. I’m having enough trouble with the text as it is. In that passage, for example, Raphael tells Adam not to worry about all of the cosmic details, which may or may not be the same thing as what Milton wants to tell me.

    Milton is explaining “the ways of God to man” in a poem that is absolutely crammed with cosmic details. So I’m puzzled.

    As a religious reader, what do you make of Chaos, the non-Heaven and non-Hell?
    .-= Amateur Reader´s last post on blog ..You know that I should strangle you – vivid William Morris =-.

    1. Rebecca Reid
      Rebecca Reid May 24, 2010 at 1:47 pm |

      Amateur Reader, I do apologize — I am not writing about the section by approaching it as a student of literature (as I once was). Your example is a perfect example of how I am not. I’m reading things somewhat “wrong” these days.

      But, that said, I have been reading Adam as an example of myself. I’ve been reading Paradise Lost this time looking for messages/connections to my own life. Not what my English professors would say is right, since, as you point out quite appropriately, Milton is not necessarily saying the same things his characters are saying.

      Yes, the entire poem has been quite crammed full of “cosmic details.” What is puzzling you in particular? Or do you just mean Raphael’s explanation to Adam? I do think Milton is fascinated by the heavens and putting Raphael’s comment to Adam to “stop worrying” seems to be political. I don’t know enough about the politics to say exactly why, that’s just how it sounded to me on reading it and then reading the biography of Milton (which was a short, somewhat superficial preliminary look at the politics of his era).

      As for your last question, I’d say that I see Milton’s theological perspective as extended into fantastic realms, just as my own religious understanding would be extended if I were to try to write an epic poem about it (although mine, of course would be horrendous as I’m not a writer/poet). I can explain how the concept of Chaos matches my own theological beliefs (in some ways) but I don’t THINK that’s what you’re asking. My religious beliefs are separate and different from Milton’s in many points but I do enjoy making my own comparisons and extensions.

      1. Amateur Reader
        Amateur Reader May 24, 2010 at 5:31 pm |

        Please, no apolgies! I can argue that I’m the one reading the poem in the wrong way. I’m getting stuck in these details – just what Raphael is warning us against! The poem obviously has a serious, even profound, ethical purpose, and I’m spending my time worrying about Chaos and Night (“the eldest of things”) and similar trivia.

        I kind of was asking how your beliefs incorporate Milton’s Chaos, this neutral (or not so neutral?) space between Heaven and Hell. But I think you’ve answered me, in a way – your idea about Milton extending his imagination, in this case past scripture, into the fantastic, is a good one. Probably describes his creative path well.
        .-= Amateur Reader´s last post on blog ..You know that I should strangle you – vivid William Morris =-.

        1. Rebecca Reid
          Rebecca Reid May 26, 2010 at 9:10 am |

          Amateur Reader, I can see what you’re saying about being confused. There are lots of details in it. I’m trying to read more superficially. I think I need to read it a number of more times to fully make sense of it!

  2. Jeanne
    Jeanne May 24, 2010 at 10:30 am |

    I’ve never gotten the sense that Milton was any more misogynistic than any other Puritan sympathizer of his time. It was about a hundred years later that Samuel Johnson said that a woman preaching was like a dog standing on his hind legs.
    .-= Jeanne´s last post on blog ..Birds of America =-.

    1. Rebecca Reid
      Rebecca Reid May 24, 2010 at 1:51 pm |

      Jeanne, that’s kind of my impression too. So many people seem to give him a bad rap, so I feel I’ve been reading Paradise Lost more carefully, looking for Milton’s comments on women.

      I don’t know much about Samuel Johnson, but the more I read about him, the less I like him….I have the Boswell’s LIFE OF JOHNSON waiting to be read, though, so maybe I need to learn a little more before I judge him completely. lol

      1. Jeanne
        Jeanne June 2, 2010 at 9:54 am |

        I enjoyed Boswell’s portrait of Johnson in the Life (and of himself!). I think I remember that quotation because Johnson was so clever in so many areas and it seemed to me such a blind spot for him.
        .-= Jeanne´s last post on blog ..The Magicians =-.

  3. Jenny
    Jenny May 28, 2010 at 6:12 pm |

    It was so foolish of me to agree to this readalong in a month when I knew I was going to have mad upheavals. I am totally behind! I’m going to end up doing lots of Milton in June posts. :/

    I agree with you that Eve is a pretty thoughtful character – or at least, that’s how I remember her. She thinks a lot about what sort of a person she wants to be, which I think is fair! She wants to explore the possibility of independence. It is a legitimate thing to explore.
    .-= Jenny´s last post on blog ..Reviewing other people’s grief =-.

    1. Rebecca Reid
      Rebecca Reid June 1, 2010 at 8:10 am |

      Jenny, no worries, I’ll be posting about Milton for a few more weeks, I think!

      As someone (Amateur Reader?) said on another point, Milton was a huge proponent of autonomy. Eve seems the perfect example!

  4. Shelley
    Shelley May 31, 2010 at 10:50 pm |

    I have gotten through to Book 9 finally, but no posts. I may just end up doing a wrap up post at the end, but I am enjoying the discussions. I found the creation of the world to be quite beautiful which surprised me, because other longer, descriptive passages I have not had patience with. I did get a bit tense in reading the derogatory comments about Eve and her inferiority. I felt like Raphael and Adam perceived her as more of an object than a thoughtful being in her own right, so in a way I’m glad she got to eat the fruit first. I’m looking though my book now and realizing I didn’t quite finish Book 9 after all. Oops!
    .-= Shelley´s last post on blog ..Cranford: Book and Movie Reviews =-.

    1. Rebecca Reid
      Rebecca Reid June 1, 2010 at 8:15 am |

      Shelley, in retrospect, I’m finding it hard to do in between posts, so go ahead an post at your convenience. I do like the discussion as well, though, so I think it’s good I have been forcing myself to write posts!

      I’m with you on the creation of the world. Maybe because we know there are set increments (i.e., each day) that will give it some structure.

      Re: the comments about Eve. I do think Adam didn’t take her as seriously as he should have. Maybe that’s why Eve taking the fruit was such a big thing — like Jenny says above, she wanted to prove her individuality!

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