Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Milton and the Nipple nazi

Milton and the Nipple Nazi is an article on the rendering of Milton's paradise lost into prose. You can read it


I agree with her, about the Milton. I'm no in a position to comment on the nipple nazi. If you need a prose gloss for a poem, you aren't reading the poem.
(I'm Old! I'm allowed to say things like that. I can grumble about people who feel the need to "modernise" medieval texts to "make them relevant' and laugh rudely at people who say traditional songs have no "contemporary relevance". ) It's funny how certain texts get an off putting reputation. I was put off Milton by having to read Samson Agonistes for A level. It wasn't difficult: it just wasn't interesting for a seventeen year old. Satan in hell would have been a very different proposition.

But what's frightening (he grumbled on in his old man grumblings) is the idea that instead of saying to an undergraduate: make the effort, it may hurt, you may fail, but you're not going to learn anything unless you make a sustained effort, someone goes to the lengths of writing a prose translation to save the poor darlings the trouble.

Milton might be boring; like Wagner, there are great moments lost in hours of sludge; he may make your teeth ache ideologically and theologically; his god is smug and unloveable and his devil fascinating; but difficult to read? Compared to what?

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