A confession: I have never read Paradise Lost from beginning to end. I’ve read bits of it. I’ve read Lycidas and some of the sonnets. But in The Guardian today, Claire Tomalin makes a passionate case for reading Milton.
It’s hard to argue with. Milton is difficult, dense, allusive, and takes a lot of effort, but work and patience, as ever, seem to bring great rewards, as Tomalin shows. So this month, I am going to read Paradise Lost from beginning to end. I’m going to take my time and make an effort to understand what’s going on – both in terms of narrative and in terms of how the poetry is working. I have an annotated Paradise Lost (Longman paperback) on my bookshelf. I’ve just pulled it down. I’ll post my progress and reflections through the month. Anyone want to join me in reading the poem?