[Milton-L] Is Paradise Lost

jonnyangel junkopardner at comcast.net
Wed Apr 15 19:19:19 EDT 2009

I was addressing 2 issues:

1. Milton vs. Shakespeare as a "poet" (even though Bill wasn't much of a
poet, especially next to Milton)

2. Milton vs. Shakespeare as the "greatest writer" in the English Language

I don't have time right now to get into this as deeply as I would like due
to finals this week and next, but rest assured I will. There is criteria
that can be used to make distinctions between the "greatness" of the two and
how they stack up in the aforementioned categories. The poetry part will be
the easiest, while the "greatest writer" in the English language will be
more difficult because they wrote in different genres. So that determination
would have to include several intangibles, variables etc as well as
fundamental craft comparisons (and also linguistic skills).

I'd also just like to add that comparisons are not meaningless, or short
cuts to thinking. Rather, they can (if addressed appropriately) encourage
more thought and a deeper understanding/appreciation of the subjects

In closing, of all the poets I've spoken to over the years (which includes
some of the greatest contemporary poets of the 20/21st century with 3 former
US Poet Laureates in that group), they have all acknowledged Milton as a far
superior poet to Shakespeare when I asked them. It seems like a no-brainer,
but I guess academics as a whole don't understand poetry (and the craft etc)
as well as poets that study it, live it, breathe it, and write it everyday
(which is understandable).

More later, 


On 4/15/09 11:39 AM, "James Rovira" <jamesrovira at gmail.com> wrote:

> I frankly can't believe I was asked this question:
>> Theoretically:  at what altitude does Parnassus plateau?   If judgment
>> between Milton and Steele is possible, why isn't judgment between Milton
>> and Shakespeare?
> Do you really believe a judgment between Steele and Milton is engaging
> in the same activity as judgment between Shakespeare and Milton?
> What did Shakespeare write that is comparable to Paradise Lost?  Isn't
> it more intelligent to judge Milton's Paradise Lost against Homer,
> Virgil, and Dante than against any of Shakespeare's plays or poetry?
> Just Milton's sonnets against Shakespeare's sonnets and you may make a
> meaningful comparison.   Judging an epic poem against a play or a
> cycle of sonnets?  I don't think this makes much sense.
> Jim R
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