[Milton-L] Reading "Paradise Lost"

Mario DiCesare dicesare1 at mindspring.com
Wed Jan 23 17:35:12 EST 2008

"And while _Paradise Lost_ is difficult, a great many otherwise
quite normal people who do work through it find it well worth the 
trouble (as all of us who teach the poem know)."

Some further evidence. Twice in the last five years, I have offered a 
course on PL in the College for Seniors at the U. of North Carolina - 
Asheville, which enrolls a thousand or more retirees each term. There 
were between twenty-five and thirty in each course. We met for eight 
weeks, two hours each time, supplemented by lots of email communication 
and discussion.

They came from a wondrous diversity of backgrounds. There were, e.g., 
clergymen, teachers, a truck driver, an attorney, two naval officers, 
computer specialists, housewives, at least one physician, two or three 
nurses, and two or more librarians. Almost all persevered. A few 
admitted that they didn't like the poem. Most, however, seemed to feel 
genuinely rewarded by the experience of reading the text, discussing the 
issues, and finally realizing that they could read the poem with some 
fluency and that they enjoyed re-reading the good bits.

Those were happy experiences I plan to repeat. But then, teaching in our 
College for Seniors is almost always a happy experience. Those who 
despair of what has happened in higher education in recent decades might 
keep this in mind, while of course continuing to fight the good fight 
against the intellectual corruption that has apparently taken place.


Mario A. DiCesare

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