TalkHow did you manage to read Paradise Lost?

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How did you manage to read Paradise Lost?

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1coffee.is.yum
May 17, 2008, 4:28pm

I'm dying to read Paradise Lost. I've managed to get about 10 pages in and although the cliff notes are helping a lot I still get confused about the direction of the story.

Those of you who have read Paradise Lost. Did you just breeze throughout with the help of the cliff notes? Is there any "Paradise Lost for Dummies" out there! Any tips at all so that I understand this poem?

2paulacs
May 17, 2008, 5:31pm

You know, I've never read more than snipets ofParadise Lost. I suppose I should get to that someday. Perhaps reading the beginning of Genesis might help?

3bookstopshere
May 17, 2008, 6:10pm

my kids found the Sparknotes summary (on-line) more easily followed than the Cliff notes. It helps to tackle a couple other "epics" first, to get the feel. Then read the darn thing aloud. That Satan is one dynamic fellow! It does get signifcantly easier once you get into it.

4yareader2
May 17, 2008, 9:08pm

Is there any "Paradise Lost for Dummies" out there!

Try Wikipedia.

5coffee.is.yum
May 18, 2008, 12:14pm

Thanks a lot guys!

I tried sparknotes when I first started the book and for some reason stopped using it. I went back and read some stuff and it makes things a lot clearer.

Wikipedia is very helpful too. I just read the entire entry for Paradise Lost. It describes the content in each book which was surprising. I thought it would have been a purely technical entry.

Thanks! (cracks knuckles) Time to delve into that book once again.

6yareader2
May 18, 2008, 10:39pm

I happen to be reading it now myself. Good luck to you

7tcw
May 19, 2008, 3:06pm

classic comics. got through this, julius ceaser, moby dick, even, if i remember correctly, gone with the wind.

8tcw
Edited: May 19, 2008, 4:03pm

but seriously, if you're reading this for an assignment, get yourself a whiteboard and create characters, plot developments, blurbs, the whatnot.

you could be clever and create it as, oh i don't knoiw, say like a werbsite where you have multiple threads ....

kinda like this website.

anyway, good luck.

9bookstopshere
May 19, 2008, 3:20pm

and a cool map with polar coordinates and circles and . . .

10AsYouKnow_Bob
May 20, 2008, 12:40am

How did you manage to read Paradise Lost?

Well...I read it immediately after I read the bible. Once you get that immersed in the style of the KJV, Paradise Lost reads like a quick dessert.

11chrisharpe
May 20, 2008, 9:06am

What might help is an audio version. I have a selection from a Naxos tape that I listen to now and again. It's good but a few years ago the BBC - R3 I think - featured Paradise Lost as its Book of the Week (or similar programme) and that was even better. The narrator for that was wonderful and enthused me to root out a copy - I had only read selections before. I found the audio a nice way into the poem, in the same way that seeing or hearing a Shakespeare play is usually a much better introduction than ploughing into the text. Once you have the general feel for the plot and charatcters from the audio, you might better be able to study the text itself.

12JNagarya
May 23, 2008, 5:25pm

I've so far managed to not read it, if that's any help . . .

13janeajones
May 26, 2008, 8:47pm

Many years ago when I was in graduate school, I decided that I needed to fill in the 17th c. hole I had avoided as an undergrad, and took a course in Milton -- of course, one of the first things we read was Paradise Lost -- it really does help to have good prof to lead one through it.

But I've taught it a lot since then, and my community college students really seem to get into it. A couple of interesting things to follow are the development (or better, regression) of Satan from the arch-rebel to a toad and finally, a snake and the relationship between Adam and Eve -- which might make a feminist's skin crawl.

The imagery is incredible -- watch how the colors change throughout the poem -- even more incredible when you realize that Milton was DICTATING the poem to his daughters because by then he was blind.

14JNagarya
May 27, 2008, 2:59am

#13 --

"But I've taught it a lot since then, and my community college students really seem to get into it. A couple of interesting things to follow are the development (or better, regression) of Satan from the arch-rebel to a toad and finally, a snake and the relationship between Adam and Eve -- which might make a feminist's skin crawl."

Why should it make a feminist's skin crawl? Satan is evil incarnate, Satan is the snake (I don't think I need spell out the symbolism), and Satan is MALE. In view of what feminism has become, it's yet another perfect excuse for the interminable male-bashing.

15juv3nal
May 27, 2008, 3:35am


"Why should it make a feminist's skin crawl? Satan is evil incarnate, Satan is the snake (I don't think I need spell out the symbolism), and Satan is MALE. In view of what feminism has become, it's yet another perfect excuse for the interminable male-bashing."

Well, the whole Adam n' Eve thing is kinda framed as Eve's fault. You've got God saying "Here's this thing I don't want you to do" and you've got Satan saying "You know that thing the big G says not to do? You should totally do it." So in the Milton version at least, Eve eats the bad mojo fruit and Adam only follows suit after seeing she's already done it.

I don't think you can really make the case that Satan makes them do it, because part of the point of the story is they can only do it because God's given them free will in the first place.

16JNagarya
May 27, 2008, 4:03am

#15 --

Satan is a seducer. And Adam is a dumb follower -- or he wants something from Eve he can only get if he obeys her rules.
.

17zentimental
May 27, 2008, 2:28pm

#15 which would make Eve the seducer = Satan

18zentimental
May 27, 2008, 2:30pm

This message has been deleted by its author.

19janeajones
May 27, 2008, 3:32pm

I think what makes my feminist skin crawl is not that Milton solely blames Eve for the fall -- he doesn't -- but his relegation of the female to a figure of dependancy on the male. For example from Book 8:

So spake our Sire, and by his count'nance seemd
Entring on studious thoughts abstruse, which Eve 40
Perceaving where she sat retir'd in sight,
With lowliness Majestic from her seat,
And Grace that won who saw to wish her stay,
Rose, and went forth among her Fruits and Flours,
To visit how they prosper'd, bud and bloom, 45
Her Nurserie; they at her coming sprung
And toucht by her fair tendance gladlier grew.
Yet went she not, as not with such discourse
Delighted, or not capable her eare
Of what was high: such pleasure she reserv'd, 50
Adam relating, she sole Auditress;
Her Husband the Relater she preferr'd
Before the Angel, and of him to ask
Chose rather: hee, she knew would intermix
Grateful digressions, and solve high dispute 55
With conjugal Caresses, from his Lip
Not Words alone pleas'd her.

Thanks to The Milton Reading Room at Dartmouth
http://www.dartmouth.edu/%7Emilton/reading_room/contents/index.shtml

20yareader2
Jun 6, 2008, 10:07pm

coffee.is.yum have you started Paradise Lost yet? Have you come across Lucifer ?

21coffee.is.yum
Jun 7, 2008, 12:12am

Thanks everyone for their comments.

yareader2, yes I have started. I'm about halfway through book 1. I've been using janeajones' link http://www.dartmouth.edu/%7Emilton/reading_room/pl/book_1/index.shtml It helps having two different cliffnotes of the books to read.

So far I'm gathering that of course, Lucifer was an angel...we all know the story. However, while in hell he speaks with Beelzbub (who is not Satan) and I think one other archangel. They decide they want to stay in hell. Then God speaks from above to rise, so they scurry up from the ground and float above the river of fire using their wings...and Satan says that their plan will be to do evil to all of God's good.

Not sure if this explanation will help anyone also reading the book. But it helps me to understand better when I organize my thoughts.

22janeajones
Jun 7, 2008, 8:28pm

Isn't it wonderful that the kingdom that Lucifer and Beelzebub build is called Pandemonium??? -- a word that Milton coined, btw.

23yareader2
Jun 8, 2008, 11:08pm

I did not know Milton had coined that word. Amazing, truely amazing.

24JNagarya
Jun 9, 2008, 1:38am

#19 --

I read an excerpt from a recent book by a "feminist" in which she contends that women are "trapped" between being dependent and being independent. In other words, that in some circumstances they are choicelessly forced to be dependent (the false implication being that men aren't), and in others they are allowed to be independent (the false implication being that men are always "allowed" to be independent).

Actually, as I and others have observed, women deliberately choose to oscillate between being "dependent" -- when that is most convenient to their ends -- and "independent" -- when that is most convenient to their ends. Some women are honest enough to admit those facts; others are "feminists".

But let's go back a bit and look at how women are "oppressed" but men are not.

When I was growing up it was a common mantra that "women have a right to change their minds" (see above re. oscillation). That needed saying, of course, because -- it was never said that _men_ have a right to change their minds -- only _women_ have that "right". That "right" being, of course, merely an excuse for that oscillation, and an exploitation of their allegedly "dependent" status.

Want to know what "oppression" feels like, Ms. "Feminist"? Try being involuntarily eligible for the draft during wartime -- which _only_ happens to men.

The fact is that we are human before we are male or female -- but "feminists" only focus on themselves and the alleged "oppression" of women; men don't actually exist except as figments called "oppressors". They haven't any concerns worthy of attention, let alone respect or compassion.

The fact is that _every_ human is oppressed to some degree -- and women in some ways that men are not, men in ways _that women are not_.*

*Just the other day I received an email from an organization who has as an item on its list of "action issues" the "cutting" -- circumcision of girls and women -- half way around the world. NOT on the list is the choiceless imposition of circumcision onto MALE INFANTS WITHIN THE United States. Not only not a peep about that, but surveys find that MOST (US) women PREFER men whose genitals are mutilated.

Isn't it about time "feminists" stopped obsessing over how to impose their arbitrary rules -- _oppressions_ -- on everyone else and instead _first_ got their own irrational and hypocritical house in order?

What is the sole "focus" of "feminists"? Themselves, their situation, and how women -- and no one else -- are oppressed. Doncha just love the line from white middle class women about how they are "oppressed" -- that they never seem to notice that women of color are more "oppressed" than they (except when they want support for _their_ agenda)?

Or notice that black males are more "oppressed" than even black women?

To hell with all the false academic niceties of "Womens' Studies" about how only white middle- and upper-middle class spoiled-brat women who can afford a college education are "oppressed," unlike white and non-white poor women -- and men -- who don't have that privilege.

"Sexism" is a two-way street. Fairly recently, in conversation with an example of the current crop of 20something "feminists," I was told by her that "Women are more intelligent than men." We know only too well that if a man said, "Men are more intelligent than women," he would be subjected to vicious verbal abuse by a cadre of "oppressed" "feminists" based upon the fact that his comment were "sexist".

If sexism is bigotry, then she is a sexist bigot, as are such "feminists". Moreover, it isn't that women are "more intelligent" than men; it is that they are more underhanded, covert, and indirect -- see "oscillation" above -- in getting their way. More dishonest. They _prefer_ males to be "sexist," with whom they can successfully play their deliberate "I'm so helpless!" game, because such males are easily manipulated into doing their dirty work for them. Honest women will admit this. "Feminists" will lie about it.

When Abu Ghraib became an issue, there were two individuals, more than any other, who were at the center of it: Graner and Lynndie English. We all saw the photographs of them BOTH having a good old time humiliating Iraqi men who had not been found guilty of ANYTHING. We even saw the photograph of the Iraqi man, on ice and in a body-bag, who had been tortured to death -- with the WOMAN in the photographic frame GRINNING.

No one had any difficulty or ambiguity about how to deal with Graner: guilty, lock him up, throw away the key. End of story.

But Lynndie English!? Why, she couldn't possibly have done what the photographs actually showed her doing because females/women are gentle as lambs, and NEVER do violence, or anything untoward. So what could explain those photographs?

English was infantilized -- that process _led_ by "feminists": something else had to be to blame because English, being female, couldn't possibly have done what the photographs actually showed her doing, so she couldn't possibly be responsible for her actions and the consequences of those actions. It had to be something else that was responsible . . . she needed to be "liberated" from her direct responsibility, which is the white middle class myth of "freedom" . . . but blaming "God" wouldn't sound quite right . . . Ah!, I've got it! It was the abstract, invisible, and unsubstantiated Patriarchy that did it!

Graner got seven years in prison. English got three years in prison. But neither she nor (other) "feminists" demanded equality in sentencing.

All because women are "forced" to be dependent, therefore cannot be held responsible for their actions and the consequences of those actions -- which perpetuates the alleged "dependency". Which perpetuates the actual "infantilization" -- which "feminists" oppose being done to women, except when it's convenient to their ends.

Which sustains the "right" of women to "change their mind" by oscillating according to their convenience.

"Dependency"? Or convenient cop-out?

During the 1970s, when Feminism first became nationally prominent, its agenda included repeal of all child support an alimony laws, the principle being: "Wanna be independent, sister? Then GET OFF HIS WALLET!"

That plank in the platform was swiftly drummed out of the room by white middle class women (aided by men), because -- contrarily -- they were all about being "independent".

"Dependency"? This is the persisting paradigm:

If a couple get pregnant, and neither he nor she wants it, no problem.

If a couple get pregnant, and both he and she want it, no problem.

If a couple get pregnant, and he wants it but she doesn't, she doesn't have it.

If a couple get pregnant, and he doesn't want it but she does, she has it -- AND HIS WALLET.

"Dependency"? Or "right" by trick of oscillation?

25maloytsang
Jun 9, 2008, 7:30am

#19, surely we must remember when the text was written that women were dependant on men. Milton is reflecting society of the day.

#24, thought I had landed in Pandemonium and no one had told me;-) Perhaps just a wee bit off topic?

26JNagarya
Edited: Jun 9, 2008, 2:29pm

#24 --

Can't be off topic: it was not I but a "feminist" who brought it up.

It is mandatory to learn that "feminists" have every right to intrude their ideology anywhere they choose, impose it on everyone and everything as they choose, and that criticizing them is taboo because they cannot be wrong.

Otherwise, men have always also been dependent on women. But that can't be acknowledged or a central pillar of "feminism" will evaporate. "Dependence" has been a "sin" since the 1970s, when that imbalance was made a "religion"; it is now an absolute that one must be independent of every dependency (except of course that of "feminism"), including dependency on stable ethics and agreed relational rules. "Women have a right to change their minds."

Even though in neutral reality dependency within reasoned limits is healthy, and everyone is inter/dependent.

27zentimental
Edited: Jun 10, 2008, 1:00pm

I resent the generalization that 'women oscillate between being dependent or independent at their convenience.'

In any case, let us generalize the generalization regardless of gender and say that, for the most part, most people tend to do what is convenient to themselves at any given time.

It is true that Western education has it to exalt individuality, thus, the 'I' comes first and with its supposedly inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness. In contrast, there are cultures where the most important focus is on society as a whole, and focusing on self is seen as loathesome.

I suppose most things depend on where one stands, matters of perspective. But generalizations are unfair.

28chellerystick
Jun 9, 2008, 4:45pm

Rather than go into a lengthy discussion of the various kinds of feminists, and which ones are crazy, which are sheep, and which are people I am proud to share the label with, I think I'm just going to say that it's my birthday, damn it, don't you know that it's more important to pay attention to meeee?

(8

Really, this could be a thread, nay, a whole wall hanging, on its own.... More to the point, what does one do when icky or misguided or old-fashioned people do great art? Do we expurgate it? Ignore it? Glorify it?

I'll buy music that has a little God in it, even though I think it's wrong, just because it's good music. I wish that obscenity got the same liberal treatment instead of being chopped up with bleeps.

29tcw
Jun 10, 2008, 8:49am

a very merry unbirthday, chelle, i'm sorry i missed an opportunity to acknowledge you on the anniversary of your first coming out party. i hope your mom's still with you and well, tell her i think she did a great job.

as for feminists, i'm ambivalent: having been shaped by living through the 60's and 70's, i'm of course taken back a notch by all the negative implications tagged on to that word and would wish that people wouldn't do that. I know it may be difficult to conceptualize, and even though i only observed it as a man going through the same revolutions/evolutions, it dissappoints me.

as for "god" music, i have no problems with it. like any other music, a little bit of an obsession can go a long way and i've always found myself most comfortable when the music one hears varies throughout the day. 3 days of bluegrass to me would be almost as much of a hell as 3 days of rap, and i love bluegrass. as for glorifying the art or, since this is a literary site, writing of authors who are icky or misguided, well ... i think it's our responsibility to reject artists who are bigoted or align themselves with political or secular scets bent on destroying all who disagree with them.

but are we actually able to do so in life? do we turn off the catholics, the hindus, the muslims the john birchers and the jews just because their preachers become over zealous?

well, maybe the john birchers. the black panthers? as difficult as it is to accept their methods, one should look back at the time from which they exploded (like art, or great literature, perhaps?) and see how they enriched the revolution even as they fell victim to not only an oppressive government frontal attack, but to their own limitations.

so, using the panthers as an example, sure, i can see where an artist from a extremist group could set a fire under society's corporate driven ass and, even if uncomfortably, point to obvious failures that need to be addressed.

does that mean we emulate them? of course not. so that's our task: to take the bad and display it to the world as unacceptable, but maybe, once in a while to add "but i've read he was a great whistler."

30bobmcconnaughey
Jun 10, 2008, 6:29pm

well..we're straying from Milton..but if one thinks of many of the choral masses/cantatas etc. of Handel, Bach, Mozart et al. as "God" music and blows it off for that reason..wtf..a lot of great music will disappear. What..poor JS Bach spent several years having to compose (among the rest of his obligations) a cantata a week for Sunday service (i don't THINK that's a total "classical music urban myth")

I find "God" in pop music hard to deal with..but then i do like a lot of reggae..so i compromise myself constantly.

31chellerystick
Jun 10, 2008, 8:01pm

My mom's fine, although I had a moment of doubt when Dad told me she'd made a (Chicago) Bears quilt, but it turns out she was making it to sell to an acquaintance who really, really wanted one. (8

I love a lot of the classical religious choral music... but sometimes I have to grapple with the question of whether it is moral to sing it when it is not the truth for me. Or rather, the music is an aesthetic truth, but the text is a sometimes-cruel lie for me, and can I accommodate that within my moral system? To bring it back to Milton, is there a difference between studying a mythology, and studying a mythology that the majority of people at least sort-of believe and take seriously?

32janeajones
Jun 11, 2008, 8:44am

On the feminist issue, being the feminist who brought up the topic because Milton really infuriated me with his depiction of Eve -- methinks the gentleman doth protest too much.

And yes, I proudly claim the title of feminist having grown up in the 50s and 60s -- and seen the great gains for Civil Rights that feminists have accomplished -- for both men and women. Feminism is about rights for everyone whatever their gender, race, ethnicity or age. I have been happily married for 38 years (to a feminist male), successfully raised both a son and a daughter, and had a career in higher education that would not have been open to me as a married woman and mother without feminism (I remember fondly the few female professors I had as an undergraduate -- none had children). Let us not forget what came before.

Back to Milton and mythology -- I adhere to the idea that any mythology (still believed or not) is the body of stories that a culture holds sacred. If we don't acknowledge the sacredness of those stories then we lose the context and richness that they offer.

33JNagarya
Edited: Jun 22, 2008, 5:43am

"I resent the generalization that 'women oscillate between being dependent or independent at their convenience.'"

It wasn't I who invented that generalization -- actually a universal absolute: women -- no exceptions -- have the right to change their minds. Women -- no exceptions -- are "oppressed".

Otherwise we agree about the extremity made of "individuality" in the West.

As for everyone is self-serving? Note my statement about stable ethics and agreed relational rules. In order for the ethics to be stable, and the agreed relational rules to not change every time the female decides she'll exercise her right to change her mind, there must be a reasoned, disciplined sense of "sacrifice" on both sides, exactly as is true of the human individual who is a member of a society "renouncing" some abilities as not wisely expressed as "rights".

Last but not least: I've seen no refutations of any of the specifics I stated. And I don't expect to. Then again, I was careful to note, in advance, the verbal bashings of men by "feminists" -- beginning with the accusation that any male who dares criticize a "feminist" is ipso facto a "misogynist". (Within the last three or four months, during an online conversation, I expressed a criticism of my mother -- who I knew -- and was attacked by a pair of "psychoanalyzing" "feminists" intent on defending my mother -- who they did not know -- and by that means avoiding the issue. Because I dared criticize a female -- who happened to be my mother, not theirs -- I was therefore ipso facto an "angry male".)

I've been dealing with bullies all my life. It took at least three decades for me to learn, however, that "feminists" can be at least as much bullies as males can be. And it took longer than that for me to realize that my mother was a bully.

34JNagarya
Jun 22, 2008, 4:26am

#28 --

Has anyone else here read Mark Twain's Diaries of Adam and Eve? If so, they know which of the two he portrayed as stupid.

All the "feminist" readings-in aside, it is an unutterably lovely (and hilarious and absurd) peice of writing. We should go through it carefully, though, and excise every last bit of it that so much as appears to slight Eve.

Exactly as those who object to realism want to ban Adventures of Huckeberry Finn because Twain used the well-known "n"-word, because that's how the people of his day, and who populate the book, actually talked.

But thanks for "admitting" there are at least three "kinds" of "feminists". Though I may not have mentioned it, my feminism crystalized on my 16th birthday -- and that was before the word existed. And five years before 99.99 per cent of women concerned themselves with the issue.

And: happy birthday!

35JNagarya
Edited: Jun 22, 2008, 5:46am

#29 --

"as for feminists, i'm ambivalent: having been shaped by living through the 60's and 70's, i'm of course taken back a notch by all the negative implications tagged on to that word and would wish that people wouldn't do that."

To be flat out about it: I was born in 1948, and was raised without a father. I love women. My mother was a woman. But my mother was also a bully. And she boasted that as a kid she could "beat up every boy in the neighborhood" -- conveniently omitting the fact that boys -- unlike girls -- are taught not to hit members of the opposite sex.

I was enthusiastic when women finally took an interest in equal rights for women -- I'd been there all along. What I did not anticipate was the underhandedness, and back-stabbing, based solely upon genital configuration.

The "negative implications" I cite are not "tagged on": they are the actual behaviors of such -- "feminists"? -- as I describe. It is fact, as example, that throughout my childhood I constantly heard the mantra that "women have a right to change their mind." Thus men do not.

And, as I preferred hanging out with my sister and her girlfriends -- males had to "prove" themselves by being violent, and I had no taste for that -- I constantly heard them defining what men "are". How would they know? they've never been men.

But I NEVER heard ANY MALE define what women "are".

Which sex, then, according to "FEMINIST" terms, was sexist?

It wasn't the males.

Which sex, then, was "oppressed" by the prevailing rules?

It wasn't the females.

And which sex was it that made up, and imposed and enforced, those rules?

It wasn't the males.

And if you can find a mistatement of the facts concerning Graner and English, I welcome correction.

"I know it may be difficult to conceptualize, and even though i only observed it as a man going through the same revolutions/evolutions, it dissappoints me."

I'm disappointed that women -- especially "feminists" -- don't live up to their own self-billing. They might be able to do so were they not instead almost wholly focused on dictating to men what men must be, and how they must conduct themselves* -- while they continue to have the right to change their minds.

_____

*I recall an email by a woman (not to me, thankfully) who was furious that, according to her, men don't like condoms. Her concern was that she not get pregnant -- but instead of taking responsibility to control her sexuality in that regard -- "my body, myself" -- she was endeavoring to impose her control onto his sexuality. While, of course, any effort -- actual or merely perceived -- by him to "control" her would have been "sexist"/chauvanist" "oppression".
_____

Of course, "feminists" aren't always "sexist" about it in the usual terms: there're the efforts by "feminists" to classify women poets -- Denise Levertov as example -- as "women writers" or "women's writers" or "feminist writers" -- and thereby limit those writers' audiences -- instead of parking their ideological projections in the dumpster and dealing with such writers as simply being writers.

(Robert Hayden had to deal with -- and resist -- the same sort of pressure from Black Power adherents. He said the equivalent of that Levertov said: "I'm not a black poet. I'm a poet.")

36JNagarya
Jun 22, 2008, 5:39am

#32 --

yes, being a "feminist," you think I protest too much. Here are a few facts which deserve protests -- but not only by men:

1. At the end of her tenure as president of the MA Bar Association, Martha Coakley (now MA AG) made a public statement about the fact that judges "rubber-stamp" restraining orders, to the degree that they are seriously abused. The vast majority are unjustified. But: whether a woman seeking a restraining order is telling the truth or lying is never at issue: she wants one, she gets one. Period.

2. I watched as a friend moved out of the house -- which he bought and paid for -- because he didn't want to be around his wife. Which obviously meant he didn't want to be around his wife. He next filed for divorce -- which obviously meant he didn't want to be around his wife.

He filed for the divorce on a friday. The wife filed for a restraining order -- he had already made multiply clear that he didn't want to be around her -- the next day, Saturday, and was granted the restraining order. No questions asked.

She now owns/occupies the house, and he rents. And he has a CRIMINAL black mark on his record.

3. I've watched it happen again and a again: a woman wants to end a relationship with a man, but she doesn't want to tell the truth as to why -- usually it's because she's already established a relationship with another man and doesn't want the first man to know about it. Understandably confused because her "explanation" doesn't fit the reality and facts, he presses for the truth. She swears out a restraining order to get the gov't/police to do the dirty work for her, and that's the end of it. She does as she pleases, he is stuck trying to figure out the truth from a scant few lies.

"And yes, I proudly claim the title of feminist having grown up in the 50s and 60s -- and seen the great gains for Civil Rights that feminists have accomplished -- for both men and women. Feminism is about rights for everyone whatever their gender, race, ethnicity or age."

No. "Feminism" is about women's rights -- as in "female". HUMAN rights include ALL humans -- not only females. And it wasn't "feminists" who made the "great gains in Civil Rights" during the 50s and early to mid-60s (I became a civil rights activist at 8-9 years old, in elementary school, when I first learned of Lincoln and his principle "everybody equal before the law"); it was CIVIL RIGHTS activists who did that. "Feminism" didn't become an issue until 1968-69, and then it was only an issue among the "left"-"radical".

I still recall the BITCHING by WOMEN because "not allowed" to run draft counseling/resistance organizations. Which sex was the focus of the draft? Which sex had the greatest stake as concerned the draft? Which sex had the most direct, intimate awareness of the issue of being SUBJECT of the draft? Men. So why should women demand to run MEN'S affairs?

Do men bitch that they aren't allowed to run women's domestic violence shelters? Do they even expect to do so!?

Someone somewhere recently said that there are two cultures, which in some respects overlap, but in others do not. One of those cultures is female, and the other male. When male reporters are allowed into women athletes' locker rooms, then women should be allowed into mens' -- ah, but: women are allowed into men's locker rooms because it would be "sexist" to not allow them to be. The courts ruled so.

But are male reporters allowed into women's locker rooms? No. Are men demanding -- the way women did -- to be allowed into womens' locker rooms? No. Why? In part because society would be horrified at such impropriety. Such alarming temerity. And in part because men realize there are limits to be respected: some things about women and their culture are beyond men's understanding -- and "business". The same is true in reverse -- except that "feminists" don't respect those facts and realities.

Thus the man who was not allowed to be a member of the closest health "club" to his home solely because he was MALE who sued not only lost the case -- women-only health clubs are allowed, men-only are not -- but the "feminists" lobbied the legislature and got an exception written into the law. Thus women are allowed, by law, to discriminate on the basis of genital configuration -- but men are prohibited in all instances from doing the same.

Which sex is "oppressed" by which sex?

"I have been happily married for 38 years (to a feminist male), successfully raised both a son and a daughter, and had a career in higher education that would not have been open to me as a married woman and mother without feminism (I remember fondly the few female professors I had as an undergraduate -- none had children). Let us not forget what came before."

Let's not forget what came before -- and persists: women have the "right to change their minds" -- which issue you don't address. Women have the "right" to dictate both what men "are" and how they must conduct themselves -- which issue you don't address. Women are given lesser sentences for the exact same offenses -- which issue you don't address. Women are allowed to discriminate on the basis of genital configuration; men are not -- which issue you don't address.

Not having addressed those issues, I'll assume your silence means assent. And that you like it being that way.

But instead of telling me about your having been married for 38 years, etc., how about addressing those issues? Because avoiding them is the way to maintain those glaring inequalities which are in most instances enforced by law against males?

Let me know when women are equally, involuntarily eligible for the draft during wartime; equally, involuntarily eligible to be thrown away as cannon fodder, for the protection of women and children -- the latter the tradition women don't even recall, let alone respect. Then we can talk about "oppression" on equal terms.

37tomcatMurr
Aug 29, 2008, 8:38pm

To get back on topic, how did I manage to read PL, I started at the beginning and kept reading until I got to the end.

Hope this helps.

38synesis
Sep 10, 2008, 12:36pm

Wow. To put it mildly, I didn't expect to see this when I opened the thread.

To leave the various arguments about the status of Milton's Eve to one side (though I agree that Eve encodes any number of common renaissance views about the status of woman, while simultaneously afforded freedoms within Milton's writing that seem at the very least unusual), I find it interesting that Milton makes Adam's fall an act of choice, and an act of love. Not an act of passion - Milton attempts to gloss (in Tetrachordon) Adam's love as not simply sexually motivated, but much, much larger than that. (FWIW, it's interesting to think about what sex means to Milton, since his described universe in PL is extraordinarily fleshly, organic, fruitful, and even angels seem to have some sort of sexual activity - see PL VIII.622-629.) That speech of Adam's:

...for with thee
Certain my resolution is to Die;
How can I live without thee, how forgoe
Thy sweet Converse and Love so dearly joyn'd,
To live again in these wilde Woods forlorn?
Should God create another Eve, and I
Another Rib afford, yet loss of thee
Would never from my heart; no no, I feel
The Link of Nature draw me: Flesh of Flesh,
Bone of my Bone thou art, and from thy State
Mine never shall be parted, bliss or woe. (IX. 906-916)

As far as reading it goes - it's just a matter of continuing to slog through with it. Sometimes it helps to read it out loud, since Milton's cadences are often extraordinary, and his meaning and sphere of address changes subtly, especially in the beginning of many of the books. Samuel Johnson famously said of it, though: "Paradise Lost is one of the books which the reader admires and puts down, and forgets to take up again. None ever wished it longer than it is." Fair enough, Samuel!

39yareader2
Sep 11, 2008, 11:27pm

Paradise Lost : The Novel by Joseph Lanzara is a simplified version. I hope it is good because this poem has come up in so many other stories I have read that I need a better understanding of it.

40chrisharpe
Dec 1, 2008, 9:03am

This might help - a complete reading by Anton Lesser, forthcoming on BBC R3:-

John Milton and Paradise Lost (complete)
The Sunday Feature on December 7th is John Milton's Adventurous Song, the first programme in our season marking the 400th anniversary of the birth of the great English poet. David Norbrook explores evolving views of Milton and his importance to us today. He places Milton's work within the social and political turmoil of his times and our own. Throughout the week, actor Robert Glenister will read Milton's poems in Breakfast, Afternoon on 3 and In Tune. On December 14th you can hear a new production of Samson Agonistes, the dramatic poem published three years before his death. Written in the form of a Greek tragedy, it follows the biblical story of the blind Samson wreaking his revenge on the Philistines. For total immersion, listen to Anton Lesser reading the complete Paradise Lost, Milton's best known work, every weekday at 5.00pm and at the weekend at 9.30pm, from Monday 22 December - a real holiday treat.

I happen to have an old recording of Anton Lesser reading excerpts of Paradise Lost, and he makes a good job of it.

The link provided on the BBC newsletter is: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00fvn42 , but this does not refer to the Lesser readings. I'll post more when a link appears.

Enjoy!

41chrisharpe
Dec 12, 2008, 9:21am

Two more handy resources, both from the University of Cambridge...

Milton resources at Christ’s College, Cambridge: http://www.christs.cam.ac.uk/darknessvisible/

Audio podcasts from the University of Cambridge, Faculty of English: http://mediaplayer.group.cam.ac.uk/departments/english

42antimuzak
Dec 13, 2008, 2:48am

More on Milton and Radio 3. Visit the Radio 3 LibraryThing Group for more information about how to catch these broadcasts up to seven days after broadcast.

John Milton Season

7 December 08 – 2 January 09, BBC Radio 3

During December 2008 and through into the New Year Radio 3 commemorates the 400th anniversary of the birth of poet John Milton (1608 – 1674) with a host of programmes exploring his life and works.

The Sunday Feature: Adventurous Song explores evolving views of Milton and importance today.
The Essay looks at John Milton as an essayist.
Drama on 3 presents a new production of Samson Agonistes.
The Verb with Ian McMillan.

Paradise Lost
Acclaimed actor Anton Lesser reads the complete Paradise Lost (12 books), Milton’s best know work, every weekday at 5pm and at the weekend at 9.30pm from 22 December - 2 January.

Other Highlights:

Every day from 7 – 14 December actor Robert Glenister reads many of Milton’s poems including Lycidas, On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity and Sonnet X1X. The poems are dropped in three times a day at Breakfast, at 2pm and during In Tune at 6.00pm. Robert Glenister has appeared in BBC TV’s Spooks and Hustle as well as with the RSC and at the National Theatre.

The Australian poet John Kinsella, who has written what he calls a Miltonic anti-masque will be among Ian McMillan’s guests on The Verb on 12 December at 9.15pm.

The Early Music Show focuses on Milton’s masque in honour of chastity, Comus recorded at Ludlow castle, where Milton’s masque was first performed in 1634 (13 December, 1.00 – 2.00pm).

John Milton was also a polemicist and civil servant for the Common Wealth of England and is best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost, his treatise Areopagitica and his radical republican views and thoughts on divorce.

43yareader2
Dec 13, 2008, 7:03am

thanks antimuzak

44jburlinson
Edited: Jan 24, 2009, 6:28pm

You might take a look at Paradise Lost: Parallel Prose Edition, which includes the original as well as a prose rendering by Dennis Danielson. Professor Stanley Fish, a Milton specialist and author of How Milton Works recommended it in the New York Times last year. You can find Fish's blog entry at ‘Paradise Lost’ in Prose

45witcomb
Jan 30, 2009, 3:55pm

On a (ahem) different discussion forum, a small group of us is reading PL. Well, that forum seems to be down now, so on a tip from a friend, I came over here to nose around. I read this epic in grad school over 25 years ago, still have my Complete Milton (ed. Merritt Hughes), and by the looks of my penciled notes, our class must have gone through this line by line. So that's how I managed to get through it--had to, it was a requirement. There might have been a bit of Stockholm syndrome during the reading, I identifying with my captor/professor, and so afterwards I had the sense of having liked this tremendously prolix poem. On picking it up again these many years later? Just let me say that if Satan wasn't around to enliven the proceedings, I might be a drop-out, now that I'm voluntary. He's the One in the poem, isn't he, despite Milton's attempts to tear him down after erecting him to epic height. God himself is a rather regal pain in the neck, creating the opportunity for someone with a little spunk to say the Hell with you, if you know what I mean.

Our little group is reading Book IV now. So far, no reactions to M's portrait of Eve. I noted this had created some sparks here a while back. Thanks for listening.

46LintonRobinson
Feb 28, 2011, 2:36am

What a deadening nightmare this poem is.
And Milton in general.
Exactly the sort of thing like Silas Marner that English profs fob off on suffering students and couldn't really tell you why.

What REALLY galled me about this poem in college was all the tongue-lavishing on the language.

Take a Hebrew story, splice on a gooey slab of Classical mythology to set up a sort of moire or linguistics and semiotics and voila...greatness for EnglGeeks.

This was the only undergrad course I just couldn't pass. I had paper after paper flunked because I thought Milton sucked and nobody would have it. I probably did more Milton research than any undergrad in the department's history trying to prove my points. Hysterically rejected.

One I recall was surmising that a guy fellow collegians dubbed "the Lady of Christs" and whose wife left him almost immediately and never returned might just have been a bit of a sissy. The response was pretty much, "NO HE WASN'T and you better not say that!!!!'

Finally I just bought a paper from a girl at another school, turned it in without looking at it, and got the hell out of that century---certainly the worst for Brit lit.

47LintonRobinson
Feb 28, 2011, 2:36am

And yes, Satan was the protagonist, Jesus was a simpering weinie with no dramatic challenge at all.

48JNagarya
Jan 15, 2013, 6:19pm

Satan was certainly a persuasive male. But Eve could have chosen to ignore the other dude in the neighborhood, being as she was going steady with Adam.

49JNagarya
Jan 15, 2013, 6:19pm

No, it would make Adam the seducer: it is the woman who sets the rules as concerns sex.

50JNagarya
Edited: Jan 15, 2013, 7:03pm

The reality is that humans, regardless sex, are dependent on each other.

And look at reality:

Until a child can fend for itself, "Eve" cares for it, while "Adam" goes out into the world in order to bag the bacon.

51JNagarya
Jan 15, 2013, 6:32pm

"Obscenity provides a relief denied even to prayer." -- Mark Twain.

52JNagarya
Jan 15, 2013, 6:46pm

"as for feminists, i'm ambivalent: having been shaped by living through the 60's and 70's, i'm of course taken back a notch by all the negative implications tagged on to that word and would wish that people wouldn't do that."

I look at the behaviors as reflected in statements by those who see everything through a mysandric lens.

And I note that TeeVee comedies still portray men as buffoons -- without a peep of objection against that abuse by "human rights" "advocating" "feminists".

The reality is that the feminism of the 1970s splintered into factions, some of which devolved into being a stench on the term.

Stating those facts is in objection, not in approval.

53JNagarya
Jan 15, 2013, 6:49pm

Late in life, poetess Denise Levertov, who had long been an agnostic, became a Catholic, and wrestled with the issue of the church's sexism.

54JNagarya
Edited: Jun 23, 2013, 6:59am

It would be interesting to read a comparison of Milton with Twain's The Diaries of Adam and Eve. The latter would at very least not be a slog to read.

55HarryMacDonald
Jan 15, 2013, 8:05pm

PL certainly is heavy sledding for much of the way. Still, some of it is imperishably powerful, like the scenes between Adam and Eve. And let's not forget a line which is, sadly, as fresh today as when Milton created it centuries ago: "Necessity, the Tyrant's plea". -- G

56madpoet
Jan 16, 2013, 8:18am

>55 HarryMacDonald:
I like what Milton said about rhyme, too:

"Rhyme... the invention of a barbarous age."

57barney67
Jan 16, 2013, 11:24am

I read the whole thing in college.

"Paradise Lost is one of the books which the reader admires and puts down, and forgets to take up again. None ever wished it longer than it is."

-- Samuel Johnson

58southernbooklady
Jan 16, 2013, 11:27am

I have to admit, I am quite fond of Paradise Lost. But I came to it late in life, after a period of immersion in 17th and 18th century philosophical and political thought. Against that background, I found it pretty phenomenal.

59leialoha
Edited: Feb 3, 2014, 2:30am

"How did you manage to read Paradise Lost?"
-- title question

I must admit that it was a class assignment. The complete works of Milton was
the topic of the course. It attracted enough students (1950s),
that classes had to be held in
a small auditorium. The class was elective, which shows that there was an ongoing interest in Milton; I donʻt think it was required even for English
concentrators.*
I didnʻt use Cliffs or any
thing that may have been be their competitors -- only the minimal notes which the currently used edition was
putting at the foot of the page.
Like (as Iʻve heard) many readers I found Books I and II
to be superior to the rest of the poem. I can understand Samuel Johnsonʻs remark that itʻs a book "that no one has ever wished were longer!" But, in general
I found it to be readable -- no special difficulties.
The professor was Douglas Bush. In later decades his
son and grandson followed him as scholars of English poetry.
As for the alleged "barbarity" of rhyme we were reminded in
the course (and the professor thought this was not generally known, most of the 18th century poets of long poems
followed Milton with the unrhymed,while fewer used
the "English Heroic" (RHMED couplets) meter for which the
century became famous
(Pope, Goldsmith, et al.).

*concentrators: Harvardian for "majors".

60rolandperkins
Edited: Aug 16, 2014, 3:39pm

#59 ABOVE BELONGS TO
rolandperkins

"How did you manage to read Paradise Lost?"
-- title question

I must admit that it was a class assignment. The complete works of Milton was
the topic of the course. It attracted enough students (1950s),
that classes had to be held in
a small auditorium. The class was elective, which shows that there was an ongoing interest in Milton; I donʻt think it was required even for English
concentrators.*
I didnʻt use Cliffs or any
thing that may have been be their competitors -- only the minimal notes which the currently used edition was
putting at the foot of the page.
Like (as Iʻve heard) many readers I found Books I and II
to be superior to the rest of the poem. I can understand Samuel Johnsonʻs remark that itʻs a book "that no one has ever wished were longer!" But, in general
I found it to be readable -- no special difficulties.
The professor was Douglas Bush. In later decades his
son and grandson followed him as scholars of English poetry.
As for the alleged "barbarity" of rhyme we were reminded in
the course (and the professor thought this was not generally known), most of the 18th century poets of long poems
followed Milton with the unrhymed,while fewer used
the "English Heroic" (RHYMED couplets) meter for which the
century became famous
(Pope, Goldsmith, et al.).

*concentrators: Harvardian for "majors".
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61joeyly
Aug 16, 2014, 7:39am

I recommend everyone to start Paradise Lost at the Book 6 and 8. However, the other parts firstly seems to be deadly boredom, if you can catch the special rhyming and mood it is quite enjoyable. It is the book 6 and 8 which I found remarkable indeed. I found the Longman edition with Alastair Fowler by far more useful than the Oxford or any other editions.

62D.Sahner.Santa.Cruz
Sep 2, 2014, 11:42pm

Several years ago I read the annotated version edited by Kerrigan, Rumrich, and Fallon. The Introduction provided an excellent springboard. And the annotations were excellent (at times, indispensable). I was ripe for this reading, on which I embarked in bite-sized pieces over several months, savoring the verse. I did not find any of it tedious. I suppose attitude and receptivity to this work count. Perhaps I would have reacted differently in another decade. But the "mind is its own place, and in itself / Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n."

David Sahner
Santa Cruz, California

63carusmm
May 18, 2016, 6:16pm

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