pluscachange at comcast.net
Tue Jan 1 20:01:21 EST 2008
Some time ago I conceived the notion of making a Paradise Lost
calendar: one book per month, the number of lines divided by number
of days and adjusted for sense for each day, together with relevant
art, notes, quotations from other sources. To do this the way I
envisioned it would have made a 8" x 11" book about 800 pages long,
requiring a derrick to lift, and costing a fortune in permissions,
royalties and production costs. It would have to sell for at least
$100 a pop. All around totally unfeasible. But gorgeous!
However, I did go so far as to break down each book into daily
passages--some longer, some shorter, and few at the mathematical
average number of lines. I had this on a humongous spreadsheet that
seems to have disappeared off my computer; printed out it was five
feet long. I was going to offer this file to the members of this
list, but when I realized it was missing and I've have to reconstruct
it, I had another idea. Why not put it on the internet?
Then, why not set up to share ideas and comments on this daily
reading? So, yesterday I set up a new Google discussion group,
The list will shortly receive a blanket invitation to join, together
with instructions on how to do so. I envision this as being less
scholarly than Milton-L, more directed to the general reader, and
stressing how utterly enjoyable PL can be. However, I'm taking steps
to exclude students from trying to freeload homework. I haven't
finished preparing all this yet, but it IS online. Eventually I hope
for it to become a rich "stone soup" of individuals' responses to the
daily passages, and contributions of pictures, sound bites etc.
Google Groups allow that. (Actually, I may have been predisposed to
use Google rather than Yahoo because a month or so ago I was setting
up a blog and the sample text was the opening lines of Book III.
I hope you'll pass this along to family, friends and students. The
spreadsheet isn't copyrighted, as anyone trying to divvy up the poem
would come up with similar results. So use it in classes, discussion
groups, individual study as appropriate.
I look forward to next New Year's Eve, when if not at midnight at
least on that day, we'll have celebrated JM's quadricentennial year
most appropriately and go into 2009 "with solitary steps and slow."
Thank you all, and a merry Happy New Year!
P.S. I don't think I ever properly thanked you all for your help last
January with the 10-minute Milton, and I know I never posted a report
on what I did. If anyone's still interested, I ran across my notes
and will be glad to post a report now that I have more time.
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