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.
Reading The Iliad (trans. by Robert Fagles) isn’t like reading a modern-day novel: I think it did take a level of concentration I’m not accustomed to. But that just proved to me that the “difficult pleasure” of reading is highly worth experiencing.
The Robert Fagles translation was poetic and rhythmic. Once I became accustomed to reading poetry, I felt it was highly readable. (more…)
I thought reading The Iliad by Homer (translated by Robert Fagles) would be a chore. Even after I reviewed four different translations and chose one I felt was “best,” I told myself I would have to read at least one chapter a day, just to get through it before it was due at the library. I thought The Iliad would be horribly boring.
I was wrong.
I admit that the first few chapters were hard to get into – I wasn’t used to the characters, and because it began in medias res, I felt a little lost; also, it is a poetic style I am not accustomed to reading. Besides, the second chapter included a list of the boats and characters (a back story) that seemed to drag on and on.
But by the fourth or fifth chapter, I found myself immersed in the story: not only did I empathize with the characters and enjoy the somewhat morbid action-packed battle scenes, but I loved the lilt and feel of the poetry. And while I can’t say whether or not Fagles’ translation was the most accurate of all translations, I certainly found the poem to be beautifully poetic as well as highly readable.
All of that said, I feel I have a love/hate relationship with this book. (more…)
When I decided to read The Iliad, I knew essentially nothing about it.
All I knew was that it was Greek, it was written by Homer, and that it was somehow a precursor to The Odyssey (which I read in high school). Having read The Iliad, I can say now that while it certainly is Greek, the author is officially unknown, and the characters, setting, and plot are completely different from those in the The Odyssey. The Iliad is its own story. It also has a different feel than I expected, focusing on anger, war, and revenge, as well as virtue and honor.
These thoughts are only from my one read of the poem; I don’t promise that they are accurate. Now I see why studying the classics is a life-long endeavor! (more…)