Saturday, October 29, 2011

Paradise Lost

By John Milton

Two Things I Liked About Paradise Lost:
1. Finishing it
2. Being able to say I've read it

I have been SO negligent of this blog this year. It's disappointing. I don't like not posting very much. Among other things, I could use the regular writing outlet and practice. But I just... kind of don't have time. Sophomore year has been vastly more time consuming than freshman year. It's all I can do to get my homework done well and in a timely manner, with enough down-time so as not to spiral into a quicksand pit of stress. But I'll do what I can to keep this up! Even though I don't have many readers, this blog is important to me. I like having the record of what I've read and what I've thought about it.

This review is going to be a quickie. I just wanted to get something new up! So. Paradise Lost. Many of you have probably been subjected to this book in either high school or college. That's certainly why I read it, though at times I considered bailing on the effort and succumbing to Sparknotes. (But my academic and bibliophiliac conscience wouldn't let me.) I wanted to give this book one star because it was such a long and unenjoyable slog, but I felt like I shouldn't totally slam it just because it wasn't my taste. I mean, there is some merit to it. Why else would it have withstood the test of time to become one of the most reputable epic poems in the Western canon? Why else indeed.

I feel like I can sum up Paradise Lost in two words: Bible fanfiction. Milton retells the story of Adam and Eve's fall from Eden - starring Satan, and beginning with his fall from Heaven. This poem has everything a good (by which I mean terrible) fanfiction has: sensationalism, revenge, sexual escapades, interpersonal drama not found in the original story... You name it, Paradise Lost has got it. Which is amusing to discuss, but not as amusing as it sounds to read. Milton's language is extravagant and excessively rife with allusions that you may or may not get (in lecture we were told Milton was the most learned man of his time, something which he seems eager to show off), making the poem incredibly dense and arduous to read. His sentences span so many lines that by the end you can't remember what the subject and verb were, and thus have to read the entire thing again.

In short: Not my idea of a good time.

Conversation Starter: Have you ever been subjected to Paradise Lost? If so, what was your experience reading it?

Books Read This Year: 79
Top 100 Progress: 46/100


  1. So, you've got me beat! I've never been subjected to Paradise Lost and having read this, will now never subject myself!! :)

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