[Milton-L] Re: Cynthia's list (and Carol's additions)

Jason Kerr aelfric at gmail.com
Thu Aug 3 10:51:40 EDT 2006

Thank you everyone for the helpful list. I'll put it to use this semester
when we come to PL in the survey course I'm TA-ing.

A few remarks: no. 10, "ability to comprehend the urgency of Milton's need
for a personal
epistemology, in a world in which all of the received "truths" had collapsed
like the proverbial house of cards," seems one way that the poem remains
stunningly relevant today. Granted, I'm a grad student being trained in the
wake of poststructuralism, but I found this aspect of the poem very
fascinating last time around. This is also why I so enjoyed the first
chapter of Prof. Herman's book (alas, all I have had time to complete thus

Which brings me to my second point, regarding no. 15, on attention spans.
When I first read PL in excerpt as a freshman in college, I can't
particularly say I got much out of it. But then, I'm a bit of an
overachiever, so I was taking 18 hours of classes, and I basically just
plowed through it. But when I encountered it later, in a survey class where
the professor assigned *the whole thing* (bless the Norton for including
it), I loved it, and I have loved it the three or four times I have read it
since. Incidentally, the Iliad and the Odyssey didn't do much for me either
until I read them in entirety. As I'm sure everyone on this list would
agree, sometimes one just needs to make the investment of time. Of course, I
believe that's the point of no. 15.  Having said all this, I still think I
understand where the Samuel Johnsons of the world are coming from ("None
ever wished it longer"). I am, after all, reading the Faery Queene, albeit
with pleasure...

Jason A. Kerr

"Den som vover mister Fodfæste et Øieblick;
den som ikke vover mister Livet."
                                    -Søren Kierkegaard
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