Paradise Lost by John Milton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Next to Shakespeare, Milton's Paradise Lost is probably one of the best and most enduring of the English Classics.
That's surprising, really, because, let's face it: not to many people in the modern crowd reads poetry these days. Or they don't try because they assume it's going to be too difficult.
Of course, they're probably not trying Milton. It's not only easy to read and gorgeously crafted, but it's also FULL of action, full of thrills, and it just plain kicks ass.
Don't let the topic fool you. It may have to do with the fall of Satan and then the fall of Adam and Eve, but Milton is a rockstar of the literature world. We jump right into the thick of the fall of all the rebellious angels right after an epic war in heaven.
Not only is Milton courageous enough to make Satan sympathetic and he's never once referred to as "evil", but he makes Satan even persuade ME. Make a heaven of hell and a hell of heaven, indeed.
We get the epic battle in heaven. We get all the dark and disturbing reasons for the rebellion. We get the jealousy, the sense of injustice, and we get it again when the same kind of predestined plot hits humanity.
So many of the darkest questions are explored. And this isn't a simple epic poem. It's not all flowery language, but it IS that at its best moments. It's intense and it's fantastically rich with mythology and history and scholarship -- as you might expect -- but more than that, it's just plain GOOD.
It's classic in the sense that it will never go out of style. It's good in a way that when we read it now, it is like the best of our modern fiction. Great stylistic and plot devices, fantastic characterization, and depth.
Of course, when I first read this, I was in college and we were required to read the bible to get all the great references and compare the differences, and I DO recommend that if only for comparative analysis in literature, but it's not necessary.
This is an action movie. :)
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