mtvessel: (Default)
Jun 2008
Paradise Lost - John Milton, ed.Gordon Tesky - Norton, 2006
* * *
A perhaps surprising title from an avowed ophidiophobe, but bear with me.

My view of John Milton has been forever influenced by Robert Graves' book Wife to Mr. Milton, which portrays him as a brutal Pater Familias who made the life of his spouse an utter misery. Having now read his magnum opus, I am prepared to admit that Graves may have traduced him - whilst the Puritan idealogue is definitely in evidence, there is also a strong argument for freedom of thought and a rather endearing concern for the logical consequences of his flights of fancy that frequently leads to bathos. The result is a poem that is magnificently absurd in its contradictions. It seeks to promote conventional Christian biblical interpretations but ends up undermining them.
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