Colin Hogan's Reviews > Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained

Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained by John Milton
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Jul 25, 10

Read from March 08 to 10, 2010

I read this while preparing for a cumulative exam in English literature. I had only touched Milton in a survey course of British Literature of the Renaissance. I must have gone to the bar the night before that lecture because nothing seemed familiar. I spent the better part of two weeks, sitting at work, sitting in cafes, sitting in the library, sitting in my car, announcing Milton's convoluted lines of poetry à haute voix. This was the only way I could understand what was going on, like I was publicly redressing my grievances against both early modern English and Christianity.

I was in a French cafe in Chicago, disturbing other patrons my mumbling, and when the waiter dropped off my sandwich, he smirked, warning me to pay attention. He was speaking of the devil, an influential force in the poem, and it is amazing how Milton can construct an epic work that is so deeply reverent, so deeply religious, and yet imbue it with total doubt and, in moments, scorn. My notebook is filled with notes, mostly with question marks, while my copy of the poem is filled with complementary notes, mostly with exclamation marks. At the end, however, I'm not sure I have a conclusive answer, and maybe that's what Milton wanted. A pause before we barrel through with rash decisions.
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