[Milton-L] Why oh Why

Mario DiCesare dicesare1 at mindspring.com
Wed Feb 20 14:55:35 EST 2008

Dear Colleagues,

Dr. Larry Gorman asks, "Do we read Paradise Lost because the 
strenuousness of the effort makes us a better person or do we read it 
because something within the text gives us access to joy?"

I wish I could respond YES to both parts of this question, especially 
since I spent much of my career expending great gobs of strenuous effort 
-- on Vergil, on Homer, on Vida, on Ariosto, on Tasso, and on Joyce, as 
well as on Milton. I frankly doubt that it made me a better person. But 
then I think hopefully, "Nemo judex in sua causa."

However, most of these works did, in fact, give access to considerable 
joy. And they still do -- this is pleasantly true in my dotage, working 
with elder folk, many of whom are just discovering the pleasures of 
literature and are willing to work at the big books.


Mario A. DiCesare

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