[Milton-L] Reading Allowed

Mario A. DiCesare dicesare1 at mindspring.com
Sat Dec 18 12:52:53 EST 2010

  The practice of reading "Paradise Lost" aloud, which seems, happily, 
to be spreading, us a wonderful development. In my dotage, I 
occasionally conduct a course (eight weeks in our College for Seniors) 
on the poem and have had remarkably enthusiastic response. An all-day 
marathon reading is probably not plausible for folks in their seventies 
and eighties, but I encourage them all to read sections of it at home. 
In the Fall term, many of the thirty participants reported that they had 
in fact read chunks of the week's assignment aloud at home and found the 
experience "quite amazing," as one retired nurse put it. I suppose we 
can assume that the young are up to a whole day's affair, but I also 
wonder if partial readings might now have their own value for many 
others who, for whatever reason, aren't inclined to take the whole day. 
Numbers aren't the whole story by any means, but it is worth nothing 
that the numbers generally have been fairly modest.

A related experience: Some years ago, I invited seniors who had taken 
one or more courses with me to consider reading Shakespeare aloud. The 
response was encouraging. To date, a varying number of people, anywhere 
from fifteen to as many as thirty, have come to my home for periods of 
two or three hours, four or more times spread out over a few weeks (it 
took us four weeks to do "Hamlet")  in which they read prepared parts. 
At the end, we gather for a film of the play, discussion, and potluck 
supper. Last year, we read five plays, and recently I was asked when 
we'd do this again.

Mario A. DiCesare

On 12/18/2010 11:31 AM, Neil Forsyth wrote:
> I am happy to be able to report that a group of about 20 people, 
> students and staff, gathered in Zürich last Saturday and spent all day 
> reading /Paradise Lost/. I know this has become almost a global habit 
> in the last few years, but in this case it is worth remembering that 
> most of the students are non-native speakers of English. At the end 
> those who had stayed the course were all tired, but somehow did not 
> want the experience to be over. Everyone was grateful to Antoinina 
> Bevan Zlatar for organizing the event, and some participants asked if 
> we could do it again next year!
> Neil Forsyth
> Professor of English
> University of Lausanne
> Switzerland
> neil.forsyth at unil.ch <mailto:neil.forsyth at unil.ch>
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