And so, I come to the end of Paradise Lost. If you’re still reading it, feel free to leave your thoughts whenever you do finish it. There is no time limit to this project: read at your own pace and join in when you’ve finished.
For myself, I don’t think I “understood” it any better than I did the first time I read it seven years ago. That time, I was discussing it in a classroom. This time, I read it for enjoyment. We have been discussing it online, and I’ve been trying to further discussion through relevant questions and my own comments. I’ve come to a little bit of a discovery, though: everyone reads things in such a unique way that it’s very difficult to create relevant questions and it’s difficult to answer questions about something so huge as Milton’s Paradise Lost, even if you’re the one creating the questions to begin with. I think I need to read it a few more times in my life in order to better “discuss” it in any format.
This post, then, is a bit different. I leave us all with a series of related questions. My thoughts follow the jump.
- What was Paradise Lost about from your perspective? What did it mean to you as you read it?
- Milton says in the beginning that he wrote it to “justify the ways of God to men” (I.26). Did he succeed?
- In the end, what did you take away from Milton’s epic?
I was once on this site accused of being a book banner because I disliked a book and I was not nice in the comments on this site. When I started a discussion post about it last year, you were all quick to give your opinions on what it means to be a book banner, and to reassure me that I didn’t sound like one. Nevertheless, I have often thought about “book banning” and what does it mean in this day and age.
Reading about the English civil war, the Interregnum, and Restoration England this month has put censorship into perspective. In John Milton’s day, censorship was a reality. In fact, books were required to be licensed by the government. As both a political and religious man who happened to disagree with much of what was happening at various times, Milton certainly did not want to have to get his writings government approved.
Milton’s response to the licensing issue, “Areopagitca,” was praised in a book I read as the best prose in the English language, so I thought I’d read it for my Milton in May project. I am glad I did because to my surprise it was both an engaging read and completely relevant. It reminded me strongly of Paradise Lost and I found it to be a good companion read to that. (more…)
How is Paradise Lost coming along for you who are reading along?
I admit that I slowed down a little bit in the last two weeks (hence, there was no Paradise Lost post last week). I got a head cold and I don’t think Milton is best considered on a cloudy brain. But, there is still a week left in the month, and I suspect I’ll still be reading Milton into the first week(s) of June. Once I picked up Milton again recently, I felt I needed to keep going. There seems to be some kind of momentum that comes from reading, and I always enjoy it once I do pick up Paradise Lost.
Discussion questions and thoughts on Books 7-9 after the jump. (more…)
Welcome to week two of the Paradise Lost read-a-long and Milton in May, a month-long celebration of John Milton’s writings. Below, I have some possible discussion questions if you aren’t quite sure what to write for this week’s post or if you want to “discuss” the book with the rest of us.
Contrary to what I wrote in last week’s post, I’ve decided to just keep this read-along to one Linky. That will remain on the first post of the project. I have a link in the upper right hand column of my site (underneath the Milton in May button) so you can find it again easily as the month progresses.
Discussion questions and my thoughts after the jump.
Welcome to Milton in May!
I hope you are as excited about this month’s reading project as I am.
I, personally, will be reading Paradise Lost, at a rate of about three books a week. In addition, I hope to revisit some other poems, I may read some essays, and I might read a biography of the man himself. When I was in college, I studied Milton for a semester. I read criticism. I discussed his works in depth. I am no longer in school, and my intentions this month as I revisit Milton are not college-level: I plan on reading and exploring some of his works, including Paradise Lost, for the pure pleasure of it!
You are welcome to join in by reading and/or writing about anything Miltonian this month. Each week, I’ll have a linky on this site, and you can link to any posts you write about Milton. I will also post some general discussion questions about the three books from Paradise Lost for the week. I hope this month can be an open discussion and a celebration of one of the world’s great writers. You can make your own participation be at whatever level you’d prefer, whether that is academic or not. You can write “review” posts or you can write discussion posts. If you don’t want to write your own blog posts at all, feel free to comment on your reading in the comments on this site.
After the jump, see discussion questions and then my own first impressions of this reread.