General Preface 5: "In one sense all critical interpretation can be regarded as foisting opinions on readers"; "hope[s] of stimulating the reader intoGeneral Preface 5: "In one sense all critical interpretation can be regarded as foisting opinions on readers"; "hope[s] of stimulating the reader into developing further his own insights"
Preface 8-11: three major difficulties in reading Paradise Lost: 1) Milton's Christian Humanism (familiarity with biblical and classical texts); 2) intense subject matter (justifying God's ways to men); 3) rich genre (epic) 12: original topic was King Arthur; original genre was drama; dictated the poem (he was blind) between 1658-63
The Beginning 13: Milton rejected rhyme for this epic 13-14: 26-line prologue 14: opening parallels other epics (e.g., Homer's Odyssey and Virgil's Aeneid); first four words go against the (later-to-be-established) stress pattern 15: Mt. Horeb = Mt. Sinai; Moses is "That Shepherd" (best poets were shepherds, prophets, and priests); "In the beginning" in l. 9 (Gen. 1:1 in Moses's Pentateuch; cf. John 1:1) 18: Milton compares the creation of Paradise Lost with the actual creation; poet = maker 19: Milton has to describe Heaven and Hell in terms that humans can understand 21-22: demonic rhetoric is supposed to be attractive (it adds credibility to the story of Adam's temptation and fall); reference to Lewis's Preface 23: Satan as monstrous, yet familiar 24: question of God's sovereignty and man's responsibility 24-25: Satan as Faustian and Byronic 26: vanity of medieval chivalry/romance (Paradise Lost is better)—see pp. 27-28 27: certain kinds of virtues are possible only after the Fall; is the Fall necessary for the arts, or are the arts a way of coping with the Fall?; Huxley's Brave New World 27-28: Milton uses references/allusions to Arthur, Roland, and Orlando to show the emptiness of medieval romances, despite their many Christian qualities and codes of honor; mingling of good and evil 28: moral ambiguities (see p. 31) 29: Daiches thinks the War in Heaven (Book 6) is pointless 30: demons in conclave conjures images of treasonous Jesuits
Book II 30: Milton is skilfull in depicting evil arguments as persuasive 30-31: Satan, Moloch, Belial, Mammon, Beelzebub 32: compare Satan's offer to journey to Chaos with Christ's offering of Himself; demonic activities mirror vain human activities 34: thou va-vohu = "without form and void"; "It is ominous that we first see the earth through Satan's eyes."
Book III 34: invocation to Light; "most daring part of his epic" 35: Milton was highly conscious of his own blindness 36: "prelapsarian Eden was perpetual spring"; Fall was necessary, not because of the felix culpa, but because it led to the only kind of virtue that makes sense (conditions of struggle against sin) 37: paradox of being solitary together; foreknowledge, necessity, etc. 37-38: Milton's suspicion of rhetoric (view of Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, and Quintilian); Christ in Paradise Regained is not rhetorical, but Satan is [cf. Herbert's Jordan poems?] 38: difference between language in Hell, Heaven, and Earth 38-39: Christ isn't the hero as much as Adam is 39: Daiches thinks that Eve and Uriel should be treated the same (innocent because of ignorance), but Uriel didn't disobey a direct command from God 40: we see Paradise first through Satan's eyes (cf. p. 34)
Book IV 41: reference to Gerard Manly Hopkins and recharging words with meaning 43: Adam's speech is not "rhetorical" like Satan's (see p. 38); paradox of knowledge: Satan tempts Adam and Eve to know more, yet they are supposed to grow in knowledge 44: Daiches seems to think that "labor" was a curse (see p. 53); Eve's love for Adam (nature is sweet, but none of it is really sweet if Eve can't be with her lover), and the parallel structure of that passage 44-45: Milton criticizes "the artificial sighings and servitudes of the courtly love tradition" 45: Milton's view of sex shows that stereotypes of English Puritans are just that: stereotypes; Milton seems sad to see Adam and Eve wake from their last peaceful sleep; Milton's use of rhetoric
Books V-VI 46: English Puritans did not like set prayers 47-48: Daiches thinks epic is inadequate for talking about the War in Heaven 48: Adam and Eve wouldn't understand Raphael's war imagery, so Milton is really talking to his readers
Books VII-VIII 48: invocations at the beginning of Books 1, 3 (light), 7 (Urania), and 9; Milton's invocations are personal 48-49: Milton's sense of isolation 49: Milton took the Genesis account literally (see p. 53) 50: Milton's problem is that he tries to be too logical (?); distinction between vain knowledge and proper knowledge; Milton/Raphael doesn't commit himself on universe theories; Adam is commanded not to dream of other worlds; Raphael doesn't know what happened when God created Adam 51: God's teasing of Adam (God's half-humorous anthropomorphism is more attractive than the serious anthropomorphic scenes in Heaven); distinction between true love and irrational passion; Milton treats different kinds of love dramatically, not so much in discussion (reference to Spenser)
Book IX 52: this is the greatest book of Paradise Lost—central scene of his tragic epic; another reference to the superiority of PL to other epics (see p. 28) 54: Eve is different when she finally returns to Adam (see p. 57) 55: Satan's eloquence shows Milton's suspicion of it (see p. 37); moral paradox and the conative theory of virtue (knowing seems necessary, and true virtue involves a struggle); Eve may have fallen by being overly trustful, but Adam fell because of love for Eve; Milton is parodying the Courtly Love tradition (see also pp. 26, 28, 52); we see the most brilliant "Sorry I'm late, but..." speech in history 56: Eve's language is different after the Fall (see p. 59) 57: "Milton's psychological insight . . . goes beyond the theological and logical boundaries of the poem" 58: both logic and rhetoric can lead astray; bad version of the felix culpa (Adam says that sin is so fun that he wishes he would have sinned earlier)
Books X-XII 58: Milton seems obsessive about defending God's wisdom and justice 59-60: changes on Earth and Hell because of the fall; Eve begins the process of recovery, and her speech is full of grace 61: stern Michael is different from affable Raphael 61-62: the story of Christ's success elicits the felix culpa from Adam—the Fall provided a world in which people could struggle meaningfully and prove self-worth
Further Reading 63: C.S. Lewis's A Preface to 'Paradise Lost' (convinced of Milton's theodicy) and William Epson's Milton's God (not convinced)...more
Hesiod 1: Hesiod possibly a contemporary of Homer 2: "Hesiod definitely belongs to that transitional period when the oral tradition was slowly coming toHesiod 1: Hesiod possibly a contemporary of Homer 2: "Hesiod definitely belongs to that transitional period when the oral tradition was slowly coming to an end and the written was taking its first, timid steps."
Theogony Introduction 3: Theogony is partly a cosmogony 4: Babylonian Enuma Elish (Apsu, Tiamat, Ea, Marduk); Mahabharata 5: Elder Edda and Snorra Edda (Thor, Lokki, Hel, Norns, Yggdrassil, Ragnarok) 5-6: breakdown of the Theogony: invocation to Muses, first beings and their progeny; Ouranos and the lineage of Zeus, Titans, Ouranos and Kronos, Aphrodite, progeny of monstrous beings, "Hymn to Hekate," first Olympians and Kronos, Prometheus, Titans, Typhoeus, progeny of Zeus and other gods 6: Gaia —> Ouranos —> Kronos —> Zeus 7: "Night is mother of Dreams—Dreams come at night—and also mother of Day because Day follows Night." 7-8: Hesiod didn't make everything up, only some of it 9: not ex nihilo but ex ignoto (out of the unknown); no account for the origin of man
Listened to this driving to and from Baylor. This is the third time that I've read through the entire epic.
Beginning of Book 1: Disc 1, Track 1 BeginniListened to this driving to and from Baylor. This is the third time that I've read through the entire epic.
Beginning of Book 1: Disc 1, Track 1 Beginning of Book 2: Disc 1, Track 7 Beginning of Book 3: Disc 2, Track 4 Beginning of Book 4: Disc 2, Track 8 Beginning of Book 5: Disc 3, Track 6 Beginning of Book 6: Disc 4, Track 4 Beginning of Book 7: Disc 5, Track 1 Beginning of Book 8: Disc 5, Track 4 Beginning of Book 9: Disc 5, Track 7 Beginning of Book 10: Disc 6, Track 7 Beginning of Book 11: Disc 7, Track 6 Beginning of Book 12: Disc 8, Track 3...more