Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Reading "Paradise Lost"

It's my not-so-secret shame that despite being an English Literature student, I've never yet managed to read Milton's Paradise Lost, although I've tried three times over the past 15 years ! I happened to mention this last year and was advised by a friend, who's also a Milton scholar, to try either reading it aloud as part of a group, or reading it along with listening to an audio version. Now as a rule, audio books are wasted on me - I'm far too used to tuning out the radio or CDs whilst I read, write or Blog, treating it as aural wallpaper to help me concentrate without distracting me. However, I picked up a second hand copy of Paradise Lost recently (not the glossy OUP edition with the introduction and comments from Philip Pullman, just a cheap Penguin edition), so I decided to make another attempt. I therefore borrowed the Anton Lesser Paradise Lost Audio Book from the library on Saturday, and this afternoon (very shortly) I shall try reading book one whilst listening to Lesser reading it - I may even read it aloud along with Lesser. The plan is that I'll read one book of PL on my afternoon off and on Sunday afternoons (thereby reading 2 books a week, taking 6 weeks to read the whole epic). Perhaps I can finally spare my blushes and say that I have read one of the greatest works of English Literature, the next time it gets mentioned !

(US readers who don't already own it and are fans of "His Dark Materials", may want to buy the OUP edition of Paradise Lost with Pullman's commentary.)

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