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

Carol Barton cbartonphd at earthlink.net
Thu Aug 3 11:09:14 EDT 2006


Jason, you make an important point regarding the near futility of attempting
to teach anything as self-referential as _Paradise Lost_ piecemeal (Norton
Anthology style): it isn't that the selections don't have merit on their
own, but that they lose their richness, their foils, and thus a great deal
of silent authorial commentary. The fallen Lucifer is glorious on his own,
in Books I and II: it is only the contrasts in III that help to emphasize
his pyrite glory (in illuminating the differences between pagan and
Christian heroism); Adam's and Eve's machinations for avoiding their just
punishment in X are pity-inducing, until one notices the similarity between
their rationalizations and the Counsel of Pandemonium in II; and so on.

I enjoyed the _Faerie Queene_, too (dare I admit it?) . . . but like you, I
was older, and had read all of the earlier epics, as well as _Paradise
Lost_, by the time I got to it.

Best to all,

Carol Barton



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