Monday, December 8, 2008

John Milton's Quatercentenary (400th Birthday), December 9th

John Milton's Quatercentenary

Where have the years gone? It seems like just yesterday I was assigned a section of Paradise Lost in that Early British Lit survey class that I took in the attempt to try to understand and be able to speak intelligently about any and all literature written ever, or at least any and all that made it into my Norton Anthology. I remember almost nothing about what I read in that class ( we covered Beowulf to Samuel Johnson I mean come on, it was only about 1,000 years of literature covered in 4 months!) But, about Milton, I remember my professor reading a part of Paradise Lost and thinking that someday, when I had the time, I needed to read the whole thing.
I haven't read it Paradise Lost. This April I will have been graduated with my English degree for ten years. Yep. Should have read it by now. Maybe after Christmas and can start that.

Anyway, since it is Milton's birthday, I should be focusing on him. It looks like the majority of Miltonian celebrations are taking place across the pond, and have happened already, so getting to a live celebration might be tricky. However, there is this really cool website with lots of information about Paradise Lost. I've just played with it a little bit, and I plan to come back later.

Of course, Paradise Lost is not Milton's only work. If you like your Restoration poetry set to Baroque music then you should check out Handel's L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, which is based on L'Allegro and Il Penseroso, two of Milton's poems.

If you don't want to do any of that, you could just give a random gift to someone today and say "Happy Milton's Birthday!" If you plan on doing the random gift thing, here are some gifts that I do not recommend for Milton's Birthday, or for the entire gift-giving season.

  • The Yodeling Green Pickle (Now, why does this exist?)
  • The Houseplant Twitter Kit (Yes! Now for only $99 your plant can Twitter you when it needs to be watered! Or, you could look at it every once in a while.)
  • The Pet's Eye View Camera (Do you ever wonder what your dog does all day? Now you can have pictures taken every 15 seconds while you are gone! Personnally, I don't even want 15 second updates from my nearest and dearest friends and family! Sorry, love ya all, but there is a reason why I don't Twitter!)
  • Owl Pellets (Now, I am all for educational gifts but... there are just no words for my thoughts. So, here's the blurb from the website:
"See what this owl ate for dinner. Just unwrap the foil from the pellet and
carefully us the probes provided to dissect the pellet and extract the owl's
dinner. Then use the bone guide to identify what the owl ate."
  • Heartshaped Mouse (I always recommend against heartshaped anything, but especially against heartshaped things that should be ergonomic. Happy Milton's Birthday! I hope you don't get carpel tunnel! )

Anyway, have a Happy Miltonian Quartercentenary everyone!

1 comment:

laura said...

Finally! How I have missed you!

And this is a great list of gift-giving suggestions! I wish I had seen it a couple of weeks ago... it's a little late for Christmas day arrival.