Erik's Favorite Demonic Poet

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Categorizing posts from previous months, I came upon, this excerpt from Comus that I felt I would bring to your attention again, particularly as Erik has expressed such a fondness for Milton.

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I really do like Milton as a poet, even though I am convinced he was batting for the other side.

Dear Eric,

You are correct in that Paradise Lost leaves a very strange aftertaste in one's mouth--an uncertainty as to whose side Milton was on. He tried to redeem it with the vastly inferior Paradise regained, but never quite accomplished the task. I think the sonnets and shorter poems lead us closer to his point--but art did run away from him in Paradise Lost and the compelling interest and beauty of Satan is the strongest evidence of it.

One could argue in Milton's favor that he was doing merely what other writers have suggested in saying that Satan can appear as an angel of light--but the persuasiveness of the Satanic character tends to trump that supposition. And to his credit, Milton recognized it.

I don't think he was working for the other side, but anytime in the creation of great art your eye strays from that Greatest Artist, the work you will produce will be flawed, and perhaps fatally so.





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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on September 23, 2003 1:15 PM.

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