[Milton-L] Is Paradise Lost

Josh Fischer josh at louisvillegolf.com
Tue Apr 14 09:34:55 EDT 2009


Re: [Milton-L] Is Paradise LostAs my favorite Wendell Berry likes to espouse - a human is irreducible, and to reduce Shakespeare to only a playwright is to reduce him to the parts of him that are popular and ignore the beauty of his sonnets, which gather less press but are impressive nonetheless.

He can be both - playwright and poet, and to reduce him is to limit his greatness. Limitations are needless, especially when there are so many actual limitations placed on us by being human. 

We are all such "complicated monsters."

- Joshua Fischer


  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: jonnyangel 
  To: John Milton Discussion List 
  Sent: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 8:05 AM
  Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Is Paradise Lost


  Thank you Marlene. 

  But Shakespeare *wasn't* a poet. Not that it's a "bad" thing, but he was a playwright. 

  Milton...now that's a poet. And I will deny Shakespeare as a poet till the day I die, unless a real poet shows me something I missed. 

  "I've been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king
  I've been up and down and over and out and I know one thing
  Each time I find myself layin' flat on my face
  I just pick myself up and get back in the race."

  (Thank you Frank.)

  And yes, I say Shalom and mean it, but Shakespeare isn't going to dig himself out of his grave and write poetry either way. 

  And BTW, Keats, Chaucer and Pope couldn't catch Milton if you dug them all up now and gave them a 200 year head start. You see, time doesn't exist. 

  And it sure as hell ain't ever gonna change the facts. 

  Peace, Love, and Billy Jack, 


  J






  On 4/14/09 6:40 AM, "Marlene Edelstein" <malkaruth2000 at yahoo.co.uk> wrote:


    Shalom? Shalom? If it's peace and harmony you're after don't go about calling Shakespeare a one-trick pony and denying that he's a poet. Why the need to establish a hierarchy of the greatest? My love of poetry and language was nurtured by by both Shakespeare and Milton (and Keats, Chaucer and Pope, by the way); returning to either is a rebirth.

                  Marlene R. Edelstein

                      

    believe everything, believe nothing

    --- On Tue, 14/4/09, jonnyangel <junkopardner at comcast.net> wrote:


      From: jonnyangel <junkopardner at comcast.net>
      Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Is Paradise Lost
      To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
      Date: Tuesday, 14 April, 2009, 10:55 AM

      Re: [Milton-L] Is Paradise Lost Yes, Yes, and Yes. PL is the greatest work of literature in the "English" Language; how could it not be? And you really can't 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 writer's, and both wrote in the English language. Shakespeare was a phenomenal verbal linguist, and you can't deny that. But Milton was a poet (which is something Shakespeare simply wasn't), 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 life's 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 it's Milton/Shakespeare or Frazier/Ali, it's all subjective. Is Godzilla "greater" than King Kong? Is an electrolyte imbalance "greater" 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 you're 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. 

      Shalom, 

      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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