[Milton-L] Half-Marathon

John Hale john.hale at stonebow.otago.ac.nz
Thu Mar 29 23:48:22 EDT 2007

Milton PL Half-Marathon Saturday April 14
    Performances of Paradise Lost have been receiving attention here
recently, so people may be interested to hear what's cooking here at the
quiet limit of the world.
    I have always so far gone for the complete, all-day rendition of the
poem, for the sake of the wholeness of the experience for my students,
justifying this by ancient practice.  However, now I have retired I am
teaching Milton to a class of retirees, the University of the third Age,
and have to think of people's stamina including my own.  So I was
intrigued to read in a commentary on Plato's Ion, where Ion's performance
of Homer is discussed, that a rival ancient practice was for specialist
performers like Ion to accompany their performance of chosen passages with
a lecture on their meaning and his interpretation, and so forth.  These
were likewise heard by thousands, swayed this way and that by the
emotional power of the performance.
     Without anticipating an audience of thousands or such emotional
intensity, I did therefore want to try out a *half* marathon for Paradise
Lost, in which star performers might talk about how they chose a passage,
interpreted, worked it up, and felt about the whole thing.  And so, for
one, Bev Sherry is coming over from Sydney to test out her views on the
right rendering of the Va;llombrosa passage.  I hope to  have a musical
interpretation of the poem, book by book, on irish pipesd and drums.
      "Half marathon" means Books I-IV entire, bits of V-VIII, all of IX.
most of X and the ending.
      It's a drop-in occasion, so if anyone out there is near Dunedin, at
the southern end of New Zealand, on April 14  - most unlikely, I know ! — 
and wants to join the fun, e-mail your intention to
<wordwaysdunedin at hotmail.com>.
     John Hale

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