[Milton-L] Reading "Paradise Lost"
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
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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