"The Portable Milton" is an authoritative grand tour through the imagination of this prodigal genius. In the course of his forty-year career, John Milton evolved from a prodigy to a blind prophet, from a philosophical aesthete to a Puritan rebel, and from a poet who proclaimed the triumph of reason to one obsessed with the intractability of sin. Throughout these transforma"The Portable Milton" is an authoritative grand tour through the imagination of this prodigal genius. In the course of his forty-year career, John Milton evolved from a prodigy to a blind prophet, from a philosophical aesthete to a Puritan rebel, and from a poet who proclaimed the triumph of reason to one obsessed with the intractability of sin. Throughout these transformations, he conceived his work as a form of prayer, written in the service of the supreme being.Alternate cover for ISBN 0140150447 / 9780140150445...
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the portable milton Reviews
I'd read many "shorter" pieces by Milton - Samson Agonistes, Lycidas, etc. - but never ventured into Paradise Lost and i have to say, those other pieces really only very remotely give you an idea of the coolness of Paradise Lost. It's a fascinating piece of work - the geographies Milton creates, the characters he brings to life (yeah, Satan's the most interesting, and yeah some of the others seem a bit doltish), the language, all of it. really remarkable.and then when you overlay his lifestory - the midcentury revolution, the restoration, his hiding and penury - you have to start wondering, well, really, who's side is he on? and then when you consider that he dictated the whole thing to his daughters because he was blind - man, i'm telling you, it's amazing.i know - big shock. milton is amazing. tune in tomorrow when i tell you that the sky is blue.the rest of the volume - which includes paradise regained (feh), samson agonistes (eh) and many of the more important shorter pieces and even some prose - is a great overview of milton's work. and bush's introduction to the whole piece is one you'll want to go back to time and again for insight and context.
I finished Milton on my birthday. I read Paradise Lost (where Satan is a cool villain) and we learn the hierarchy of "angels." Seraphim, then Cherubs, etc)I also read "On the Coming of Spring," "On May Morning," "On the Morning of Christ's Nativity," "Lycidas," "On Shakespeare," "L'Allegro," "Arcades," and other early poems. But my favorite one is "Of Education." I guess Milton's friend had asked for a list of subjects for young people to study, and here, reorganized in list form, are Milton's suggestions, which learning he hopes will mitigate parental teachings and regain a true knowledge of God:1. Stop teaching 8 years of Latin and Greek--which should produce proficiency in both languages, but only leads to untutored Anglicisms, odious to read.2. Stop leading men to become lawyers, who ground their purposes, not on the prudent and heavenly, but on litigious terms and flowing fees.3. Stop allowing students to retire themselves---knowing no better--to the enjoyments of ease and luxury, living out their days in feast and jollity.Now on to things they SHOULD study4. Rules of grammar5. Speech to become clear and distinct, as near as may be to the Italian, especially in the pronunciation of their vowels. 6. Season them and win them early to the love of virtue and true labor, ere any flattering seducement or vain principle seize them wandering.7. Cebes, Plutarch, and other Socratic discourses should be read to them in Greek and in Latin, only Quintilian comes to mind.8. Read authors of agriculture, Cato Varro, and Columella (learn how to tillage the soil)9. Teach them how to use the globes and all the maps, first with the old names and then with the new10. As Greek lessons turn into understanding of the language, have them read the Historical physiology of Aristotle and Theophrastus. They also should access Vitruvius, Seneca's Natural Questions, Mela, Celsus, Pliny and Solinus.11. After passing the principles of arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and geography, and the general impact of physics, they may descend in mathematics to trigonometry. 12. Teach fortification, architecture, enginery and navigation13. Teach natural philosophy: meteors, minerals, plants and living creatures as far as anatomy.14. Read to them so that they may know the tempers, the humors, the seasons and how to manage a crudity15. Don't let the healthy and stout bodies of young men rot away for wont of discipline16. Let them learn to be hunters, fowlers, shepherds, gardeners, apothecaries, mariners17. Make time for religion18. Let them read the poets in Greek: Orpheus, Hesiod, Theocritus, Aratus, Nicander, Oppian, Dionysius.19. In Latin, let them read: Lucretius, Manilius, and the rural part of Virgil20. Teach them ethics called Proairesis that they may with some judgment contemplate upon moral good and evil; virtue and hatred of vice21. Lead them through all the moral works of Plato, Xenophon, Cicero, Plutarch, Laertius, and those Locrian remnants. And just before sleeping have them read in the Bible about David or Solomon, or the evangelists22. Knowing perfect duty now, teach them economics23. Learn Italian fluently24. Provide access to Greek, Italian or Latin comedies25. Of household matters, let them learn from Trachiniae, Alcestis26. Study of politics so they become steadfast pillars of the state. 27. Dive into the grounds of law and legal justice, delivered first from Moses, then Grecian lawgivers--Lycurgus, Solon, Zaleucus, Charondas, and thence all the Roman edicts and tables from Justinian and so down to Saxon and common laws of England and the statues28. Sundays and early evening spent in theology and church history, ancient and modern, and ere the Hebrew tongue taught so that they Scriptures may now be read in their own original29. Also teach Chaldee and Syrian dialects30. Only after conquering the above, start on choice histories, heroic poems, and Attic tragedies of stateliest and most regal argument with all the famous orations (some not just read, but even memorized)31. Now start on Demosthenes or Cicero, Duripides or Sophocles32. Teach logic until it can be well-couched into graceful and ornate rhetoric (see Aristotle, Phalereus, Cicero, Hermogenes, Longinus33. Teach poetry: see Aristotle's Poetics, Italian commentaries of Castelvetro, Tasso, Mazzoni (and teach the laws of true epic poems)34. Then, but not before, will be the right season of forming them to be able writers and composers 35. Read the famous schools of Pythagoras, Plato, Isocrates, Aristotle and add the flourishing studies of Cyrene and AlexandriaDo not present them until you have united the whole body of their perfected knowledge, like the last embattling of a Roman legion36. Also add 1 1/2 hours of exercise and rest at noon, and hopefully they will learn to know heroic valor and will make them hate the cowardice of doing wrong. 37. Practice all the locks and grips of wrestling (learning to flight, to tug, to grapple and to close)38. During rest, they should learn the divine harmonies of music, and learn lofty fugues on the organ, and some well studies chords of some choice composter39. Teach them military motions, first on foot, then on horseback40. Teach all the skills of embattling, marching, encamping, fortifying, besieging, and bettering using ancient and modern strategies, tactics and warlike maxims 41. In spring time, they should gain experience abroad,; it would be an injury and sullenness against nature not to go out and see her riches42. When traveling, study places of strength, all commodities of building and of soil, for town and tillage; harbors and ports for trade. 43. Learn the practical knowledge of sailing and of sea-fightAll this rigor, will hopefully discourage anyone from sending their children to be taught by monsieurs of Paris and then sent back to them transformed into mimics, apes and kickshaws (kickshaw = an elegant but insubstantial trinket).
I debated adding Milton to the list because this book is not in any way an easy read but for some reason, I have a girl-chubby for Paradise Lost and anyone that's willing to take this on, should. It deals with many complex religious themes such as fate and the oh-so-important free will. Even more shocking, Satan is portrayed in a sympathetic light with Satan being as charismatic as modern politicians with such rah-rah phrases such as ""Better to reign in hell, than serve in heaven". Have a guide and a highlighter with you first time you attempt this poem because if I remember correctly, it took him over ten years to write this and this is a s-l-o-w read. Epic is the word.
Paradise Lost is amazing and epic, despite pushing an obnoxious and misogynist worldview.
Great anthology of his work. I will continue to refer to it.