[Milton-L] Is Paradise Lost

jonnyangel junkopardner at comcast.net
Tue Apr 14 04:55:17 EDT 2009

Yes, Yes, and Yes. PL is the greatest work of literature in the ³English²
Language; how could it not be? And you really can¹t compare Shakespeare to
Milton (or vice versa), because Bill was a playwright and John was (first
and foremost) a poet. But you you can compare them with regard to the fact
that both were writer¹s, and both wrote in the English language. Shakespeare
was a phenomenal verbal linguist, and you can¹t deny that. But Milton was a
poet (which is something Shakespeare simply wasn¹t), AND Milton could also
handle an epic narrative, multiple characters, temporal space, and the
single largest topic that exists: Man/Woman, Heaven/Hell, God/Satan, and all
of the binaries of life¹s Black/White morality forming grey areas that are
still being sought, fought, and argued over in the 21st century.

Look, when it comes to the heavyweights, whether it¹s Milton/Shakespeare or
Frazier/Ali, it¹s all subjective. Is Godzilla ³greater² than King Kong? Is
an electrolyte imbalance ³greater² than cancer? They can (and often will)
take you to the same place at the end of the day.

But if I could be fortunate enough to have an escort to that place, I hope
Milton is my escort.

Shakespeare, for all of his brilliance, was a one trick pony. Milton was a
jack of many trades, and the master of most of them.

Even though you can argue someone till you¹re blue in the face that PL is
the greatest work of English Literature ever written, you will still get
arguments to the contrary ­ but there are other factors/variables in the
equation to be considered.

Shakespeare carved out his slice of the pie, and Milton served up the rest.


Jonathan B. Colburn

On 4/14/09 12:22 AM, "Alan Rudrum" <alanrudrum at gmail.com> wrote:

> the greatest single work of literature in the English language, as was stated
> on this list recently?
> Certainly it might be argued that it is; but when I raised the question with
> the scholar nearest to hand, we said simultaneously "What about King Lear?"
> And then there is Wordsworth's Prelude, which begins with a meaningful echo of
> Samson Agonistes, - not every Milton scholar of my acquaintance managed to see
> this for himself,- and speaks at least as well as Paradise Lost to the
> concerns of many people one would hesitate to condemn as stupid.
> Alan Rudrum
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