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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ‘Paradise Lost’ reading invites volunteers

    For the 11th consecutive year, the English department at UA will be hosting the Milton Marathon, where the entirety of John Milton’s epic poem “”Paradise Lost”” will be read today from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

    The annual event, in room C205 of the special collections unit of the main library, is celebrating the 400th anniversary of the birth of the poet. The several hundred-page epic will be read completely over the twelve-hour period and participants are welcome to listen or contribute by reading passages of the poem aloud.

    “”It is a pretty informal thing. Anyone can come and read if they want to, although many people prefer to just sit and listen,”” said Ryan Paul, English doctoral student and co-organizer of the event. “”There have been a lot of people working on organizing this event, and

    I think it’s a good way for the university to reach out to the community and to bring people together, people that are interested in religion, people that are interested in philosophy or poetry – anything really.””

    The poem, which is about Lucifer and the fall of man, is considered by many to be Milton’s greatest and most well-known work. The poem is comprised of twelve books, and according to Paul, one book will be read every hour, with time given in between each reading for participants to relax.

    “”I am personally very excited about it,”” said art history senior Christine Bootes, co-organizer of the event. “”Whether you know him or not, Milton is still a prevalent figure today. A lot of the conceptions we have about the fall of man come from Milton. It will be exciting to see the culmination of all the work everyone has put in and to see whether we get a big turnout.””

    In the past the Milton Marathon has had as many 300 people in attendance, said Bootes.

    All are welcome to the event, including undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff or non-UA affiliates, and the event is expected to bring as many people today as it has in previous years, said Paul. The marathon, which is sponsored by the College of Humanities, will be providing food and chairs, in what Paul referred to as an “”informal, volunteer-based reading.””

    According to Bonnie Travers, librarian and organizer of the event since its inception, the marathon was created after similar readings were appearing at other universities, and after students at the University of Arizona expressed the desire to form a reading of their own.

    “”The point of the reading is to affirm the relevance of poetry in today’s society,”” said Travers.

    The event will end when the last of over 11,000 lines is read. Although twelve hours are given, it usually takes slightly less time to finish the reading, said Paul.

    “”This is great. Everyone should see it,”” Bootes said. “”‘Paradise Lost’ is something that should be heard aloud.””

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