Dr Johnson found him too lofty, TS Eliot said he wasn’t serious enough, and today he is more admired than loved. But, 400 years after his birth, John Milton remains our most thrilling poet, argues Claire Tomalin, who has been in thrall to his verse since she was a teenager
Saturday March 1, 2008
When I was invited by my publishers to choose any English poet for a "selected poems" I found myself saying, almost without a pause to think, "Milton". I confess I was surprised that they took the idea on board so readily. John Milton is a great name, but today he is not a popular poet. To me the early poems are sumptuous, the sonnets witty, magnificent and moving by turns, and Paradise Lost as thrilling as a novel. Yet I suspect that he does not fit easily into our age of performance poetry, and that he may be read less than he deserves to be. His reputation as a bad-tempered husband and father is held against him. But it seems to me that the man who emerges from the poems is a man possessed by natural and human beauty, by dreams, myths and legends, a man full of ideas that are sometimes in conflict with one another; who was prepared to give up his vocation as a poet for years in order to serve a political cause; and who overcame blindness to write his greatest work, full of exquisitely imagined scenes. However gnarled and crusty a man, he is a poet who commands attention.
Some natural tears they dropped, but wiped them soon;
The world was all before them, where to choose
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide;
They hand in hand with wand’ring steps and slow,
Through Eden took their solitary way.
Phil Collins – Another Day In Paradise
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SITIO INTERNÉ DE LA SEMANA:
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM):
Alos y miren lo que me encuentro, esto no me lo pierdo, me cae:
ENCORE MADRILEÑO (y no ‘toy bodacho):