[Milton-L] An e-epistle from Dr. Wickenheiser just 1 /2 hour ago

Terrance Lindall tlindall at gmail.com
Sat Dec 18 14:42:07 EST 2010

A very, very good question! Necessity! In order to have a cohesive story
line that transitioned well from episode to episode I had to choose the
episodes that retained the crux of the story and I had to cut a lot of
words. What I did retain were well known phrases within the poem so it is
true Milton. Any of you can identify easily the poem within the prose. And
most important to me was to retain the philosophy in the doctrine that is
being presented, such as the free will and disobedience, the power espoused
in the virtues of mind (that corresponds to my own philosophy), etc.

I could not afford to publish a big book and I did not have enough paintings
I felt were good enough to fill a larger volume. After 24 paintings I was
getting worn out and it showed in the last few. So I took the best 12 and
that s the 1983 book.

If I had tried to use Milton's poetry as itself and edit it, it would have
been a much larger task (and perhaps beyond my abilities) and probably a
butchery of the poetry, a sin for all eternity. So I opted for prose which
does not require meter, but does have a lyricism all its own (I hope). I
think it has flow and lyricism because it reads well when I recite (to my

Also, as for the story line, my audiences seem to understand it well. I
asked Prof. Karen Karbiener of NYU about all that when she lectured at my
recital and she confirmed that it is a comprehensive story line, that is, it
works. The beauty is that people enjoyed it...people who were unlikely to
indulge in  a large work that scholars made people think was difficult. And
some who heard the recitals have gone on to study PL and Milton in
depth...to name one, Eric Edelman, a very intelligent and literate artist
here at the WAH Center.

After each recital I go on to discuss ontological, metaphysical and
epistemological issues raised by Milton. Altogether Milton's poem can
enlarge one's thinking about all the issues that we humans confront on a
daily basis.

Most important is that we should all be able to think and speak freely and
not be afraid to do so and to stand up for truth. That does not mean
fighting, but reasoning.

You may notice that in PL, God represents ORDER, REASON, JUSTICE & LAW.
Well, to my mind, humanism has replaced that in our world, and humanism
means that Man, not God decides what is ORJL. I will not elaborate on that
here, except to say that is why there is a lot of conflict in the world. I
think people want to have peace and harmony, but they are somehow not able
to achieve it thru humanism.

Gotta go...WAH Center business...thanks for asking!
On Sat, Dec 18, 2010 at 11:59 AM, John Leonard <jleonard at uwo.ca> wrote:

>  Dear Terrance,
> Thanks for sending this.  The paintings are excellent.  I especially like
> the illustration .to "Sing Heavenly Muse" in the Elephant Folio.  But why
> arrange Milton's poetry as prose?  Was this a matter of necessity or choice?
> All best wishes,
> John Leonard
> ----- Original Message -----
> *From:* Terrance Lindall <tlindall at gmail.com>
> *To:* John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> *Sent:* Saturday, December 18, 2010 11:41 AM
> *Subject:* [Milton-L] An e-epistle from Dr. Wickenheiser just 1 /2 hour
> ago
> From Terrance Lindall:
> I was delighted and received with humility and yet great pride this message
> a short time ago from Dr. Wickenheiser (he turned 68 on the 10th of this
> month) after he opened the HUGE box of signed framed Giclee prints of the
> Paradise Lost Altarpiece:
> https://sites.google.com/site/terrancelindallsparadiselost/home/paradise-lost-project-annual-newsletter
> Dear Terrance,
> Have no doubt about my pride over your paintings; they are superior and
> second to none and will stand the test of time; of that I am absolutely
> confident.
> I glowed in sharing my pride in the voice message I left for you, but let
> me simply reiterate  the general thrust of my message here: Milton has found
> in you his most profound artist and illustrator in the late 20th and early
> 21st century.  My original feelings have never changed and I couldn't be
> more proud to have played a small role with you as Milton's great artist and
> also in your great capacity to bring to life the story of Milton's epic.  I
> say this more effectively, I am confident, in my Commentary than I do here.
> I remain deeply touched  and absolutely convinced that the project is the
> right way to go and that many will be touched in ways otherwise new to them.
>  You have brought Milton's epic alive in untold ways, and to say this is to
> say more than I otherwise ever thought I would say. The project is right and
> I remain committed to it and to its message and manner of delivery. Thank
> you, thank you, thank you for affording me the opportunity to work with you
> in this special way.
> With profound humility and heartfelt gratitude, I remain your friend and
> ardent admirer,
> Bob
>  ------------------------------
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