January 1 will mark this blog’s one-year birthday, and what better way to celebrate than with an epic (literally) readalong? I’m hosting a Paradise Lost readalong from January 1 to March 1, and I hope you’ll come along to brighten up the winter doldrums. I’ll be tweeting with the tag #ReadPL if you want to follow along.
Here’s the breakdown:
January 1: Introductory post
January 10: Books I & II reaction
January 20: Books III and IV reaction
January 30: Books V and VI reaction
February 10: Books VII and VIII reaction
February 20: Books IX and X
March 1: Books XI and XII; Wrap-up
Let me know in the comments if you’re interested, and I’ll link up to the participating blogs. Cheerio!
23 thoughts on “Sing O Muse: Paradise Lost Readalong 2014!”
Heh, heh, heh, good old Milton. I think I’ll be skipping this one!
That’s too bad. I can’t say I’m down with Milton’s gender politics, but the poem is amazing.
Pick another poet next year and maybe I’ll try it, although I have a problem hanging in there with the epic poems.
Been dying to start this. Best read-along book ever. Definitely in my Top 5 books of all time. Ahhh! I’m so pumped. Happy to see you shortened the schedule. Less grueling, waiting for the updates.
So yeah. Totally in.
(Also, the third book in that photo is one of my copies of Paradise Lost as well (I only have two; shame). Although .. I feel like I’m going to try to find a cool new version to read out of this time. Because why not.
This is the part where I tell you that the editor of that version of PL (the Norton), Gordon Teskey, teaches at Harvard, and that I was the teaching fellow for his Milton class one semester.
You went to Harvard?
Nope. Just taught there (led discussion sections) for a little while.
Oh good. I was worried I wouldn’t know how to talk to you from here on out.
Do you speak tequila? Because I went to Ohio State for undergrad. (I also learned about other subjects.)
I speak Rye, typically. I dabble in Tequila.
(Totally forgot you went to Ohio State. I knew that.)
I myself now speak Whisky with a specialization in the Scotch dialect.
I did my graduate work at Boston University, where we longed for Widener Library but couldn’t afford the entry fee. (Yes, they have an entry fee. Gross.)
So…. how accessible is this for someone (me) who didn’t take English past the required 100 level course?
Sorry — tried email commenting and accidentally posted from the family blog.
I agree with Rick — it’s language to savor and appreciate, but knowing the story helps quite a bit. I’ll also do preview blurbs at the end of each post so you can have an idea of what to look for.
I can do a mini-post about editions, too; the better ones have glossaries for terms that would be unfamiliar to twenty-first century readers. It’s also not terribly long, page-wise, even though you could spend years unpacking it. Lots of interesting gender, political, and theological issues to tussle with.
Anyway, you’re reading Middlemarch! I’d think that was much more intimidating. 🙂
I think it’s definitely accessible. It’s probably something you’ll want to read slowly, but in a really good way. It’s language you’ll want to pore over. Here’s a sample, one of the book’s most famous passages:
Of Man’s First Disobedience, and the Fruit
Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal taste
Brought Death into the World, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful
Seat, Sing Heav’nly Muse, that on the secret top
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
That Shepherd, who first taught the chosen
Seed, In the Beginning how the Heav’ns and Earth
Rose out of Chaos: Or if Sion Hill
Delight thee more, and Siloa’s Brook that flow’d
Fast by the Oracle of God; I thence
Invoke thy aid to my advent’rous Song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above th’ Aonian Mount, while it pursues
Things unattempted yet in Prose or Rhyme.
I also think that readers are helped by the fact that they understand the story even before they start reading. You’re not likely to be confused because you’ll be able to follow the action simply due to already knowing the context.
At least that’s my two cents.
I loved all the comments here. 😉
As for your read-along, I think I’m intimidated too. I think I’ll stick with short poems for now but follow along in terms of reading your post updates.
Oh, I’m so sorry! I wish you were going to do it — I think you’d love it 🙂
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Oh no! Paradise Lost is at the top of my list but I’m so bogged down with reads for January. I have another 6 reading days to go on my vacation, so I’ll see if I can get caught up with my 2013 reads and ahead on some of my 2014, then I’ll see. I would love to participate!
I hope you will! PL is dense, but we’re still only looking at 300 pages over two months — I hope you’ll come along!
I’ll try. I’m not home for another week (where my PL is). 300 pages over 2 months does not sound bad at all! Thanks so much for hosting this! I’ll “advertise” it on my blog.
Thanks, Cleo! Fingers crossed that you’ll be able to jump in!
Since this book completely intimidates me, I’m joining the read-a-long. I struggled with poetry last year and need all the help I can get!
I’m so happy you’re reading too!! It’ll be fun!