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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    How you can find ‘Paradise’ on campus


    If you’ve been looking for a place to wear your sexy Satan costume other than the Heaven and Hell party on Greek Row, you’re in luck.

    The 12th Annual Milton Marathon will take place this Friday at the UA Main Library in Special Collections room C205 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The marathon is a 12-hour-long reading of English writer John Milton’s masterwork “”Paradise Lost.”” The event is free (and costumes are optional).

    Started by English professor John Ulreich in 1998, the event joins others across the country in the marathon effort to make it through the 10 books that comprise the 1667 epic. Milton, who was blind by the time he finished the timeless piece of blank verse, wrote the piece to, in his words, try to “”justify the ways of God to men.”” The book-length poem essentially retells the first few chapters of Genesis — in around 500 pages.

    English majors, graduate students and exceptionally literate members of the greater Tucson community are expected to turn out by the hundreds for the annual event. Drop in for a few minutes of a few hours to hear participants take turns reading from the work. You’ll hear stories of love, betrayal, divinity, exaltation and damnation from the perspective of Adam, Eve, God and the most unnervingly convincing Satan this side of a near-death experience.

    Milton is famous for his ambitious, often incendiary topics in his political and prose works. His poetry, such as “”Paradise Lost”” and “”Samson Agonistes,”” is lauded by scholars and sometimes feared by students because of Milton’s cha acteristic nuanced writing style and eclectic, academic references. If you ease into Milton by listening to his work read aloud while sampling light refreshments, however, he’s not so scary; the Milton Marathon is an ideal way to catch a taste or a stomachful of the brilliant writer’s most famous work.

    So if you hear the voice of God at 8 a.m. Friday morning while stumbling through the library, don’t worry, you’re not going crazy. It’s just the Milton Marathon. After 12 hours, we might all be paradise losing it.


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