Sunday, 20 April 2008

Paradise Lost and John Milton's 400th anniversary

I have just been listening to a wonderful programme of readings from Paradise Lost hosted by Josephine Hart on BBC Radio 4. The readings were recorded live at the British library at the Josephine Hart poetry hour - Jeremy Irons made for a wonderful Satan.
Hart hopes that by “guiding the reader through the poems in relationship to the poet’s life, I hope to help people read the poetry again – or to read them for the first time.” The relevance of poetry to the world today is huge, it can provide one “with a route map through the world and its worldliness …Without poetry I would have found life less comprehensible, less bearable, and infinitely less enjoyable.”
You should be able to listen to the programme by clicking on the listen again button that should be available soon at this link, it's already up for last week's readings from the First World War poets.

Meanwhile, Christ's College in Cambridge (UK) has launched a website for the 400th anniversary of Milton's birth. It is really worth visiting as you can download podcasts of the Lady Margaret lectures on Milton as they take place thorughout the year.
But what is really wonderful is the Darkness Visible site put together to create an interactive space for the study and appreciation of Paradise Lost. It's been put together entirely by members of Christ's College. The motivation behind it was "why we love Milton" and it has really great energy and some great articles and ways in to the epic poem, its plot, characters, art political and religious background. A fabulous resource because of course Milton does matter.