St. Olaf Wrestles With Milton's Angel, and Prevails

Great little feature from the Chronicle

Here are some of the things you learn when you participate in a Milton marathon:

  1. Milton is not as boring as you think. Paradise Lost
    has something for everyone: Hot but innocent sex! (You thought Adam and
    Eve spent all their time in Eden gardening?) Descriptions of hellfire
    that would make The Lord of the Rings‘ archfiend, Sauron, weep
    with envy! Epic battles, with angels hurling mountains at their demonic
    foes! This is edge-of-your-seat material. “It’s a really cool story,
    which I wasn’t expecting,” said Anna Coffey, a sophomore who took part
    in the reading to get a jump on her homework for a “Great
    Conversations” core-curriculum course.
  2. Milton is not that hard to read out loud. As Mr. DuRocher
    pointed out in a set of “Guidelines for Reciting” he handed out before
    the marathon, “Paradise Lost is written in modern English.” Compared with Beowulf, Paradise Lost is a walk in the park.
  3. Milton is really hard to read out loud. Very few people get
    words like “puissance” right on the first try. Milton loved a runaway
    sentence and just about any now-obscure classical or geographical
    reference he could get his hands on, many of them polysyllabic
    nightmares. Partway through Book VI, Mr. DuRocher offered advice to the
    tongue-tied. “Whenever you encounter a word you don’t know, that’s a
    word to pronounce with special certainty,” he said. “It’s probably best
    to mispronounce demonic names anyway.”
  4. It’s worth it. “It’s really a good poem,” said Mr. Goodroad. “It’s a lot better to hear it than to read it.”