Recently faculty at the English Department at U.C. Berkeley initiated a site devoted to heightening modern awareness of Milton's relevance and currency by using audio-visual approaches already successfully used with another UCB site at shakespearestaging.berkeley.edu The new Milton site is entitled "Milton Revealed" and is to be found at http://miltonrevealed.berkeley.edu/ The site is now in a very preliminary state but will include many Milton-related images, as well as videos already prepared by the English Department, including a documentary called "Milton By Himself" and recordings of performances of "Comus" and "Paradise Lost." A relevant bibliography will be prepared in due course as well as new essays about the materials. At present we are simply establishing a core group of those interested (and learning to operate the site!) before developing a long-term program. This program should begin to develop early in 2012 (currently I am pursuing research in the U.K., based on our home in the Highlands of Scotland, until mid-December).
With best wishes for the current academic year, Hugh Macrae Richmond, Milton Program Director, U.C. Berkeley.
Dear All: Many thanks for your interest and participation. The Townsend Center regrets the recent temporary interruption in access resulting from server problems, now hopefully resolved! Nevertheless, we have made a good start and I hope we can keep up the momentum. On my return to Berkeley in December we shall be developing our site’s connection more firmly to our local base at the UCB Townsend Center and UC Miltonists, to help guarantee and administer the site base. At that point I also hope to add the UCB documentary life of Milton, and videos of "Comus" and "Paradise Lost."
In the meanwhile we can all begin to build up the informational resources on our site. As you know Brendan Prawdzik has already offered to develop a relevant bibliography, which I am happy to accept, but it would also be helpful if anyone else could propose any relevant references they use, such as texts that approach Milton more dynamically – I shall seek to credit all contributors. Equally useful would be helpful YouTube clips, unfamiliar illustrations (i.e. not just such as Blake and Doré, etc. – and out of copyright!). Any other suggestions for site development would be most welcome. We are only just beginning to master the technology and options, but will attempt to assimilate your ideas aptly. With much appreciation and best wishes, Hugh Richmond.
In response to the initial announcement of our new site members have had the following correspondence:
Dear Professor Richmond,
Thank you for sending me this message. I looked at the project, and find it exciting. Your interest in performance finds another dimension in my interest in theatricality, the idea that characters within the texts (even the prose and poetry) act and are shaped according to the bodily, affective, and social dynamics of theater spaces. My efforts are also informed by the imperative of bringing Milton to life in a way that's provocative and meaningful for students.
One thing that I could do for the site is put together an annotated bibliography of related scholarship (would take some time). I could even gradually scan and upload some of the materials.And please do let me know if there are any specific events or opportunities for speaking engagements. (I have "joined" the project.)
I would also recommend that, whenever you feel it's appropriate, you send notice of the site/project to the Milton listserv, to which a number of Miltonists are connected: Milton-L@lists.richmond.edu .
Best wishes, Brendan
Many thanks for your encouraging letter. I am still learning how to use the site (and find I cannot yet stabilize the image sequencing, for example). Do I need to take any action to confirm your membership? I hope to recruit other Miltonists. initially at UCB, in due course, to create a genuine group program.
You are quite right that there should be more related scholarship (as with our longer established site at shakespearestaging.berkeley.edu). I greatly welcome any suggestions or formal lists about sources for relevant references whether to print, audio-visual, or web material, and I will be happy to credit any contributions.As you suggested, I have sent in a brief description of our project to Milton-L@lists.richmond.edu
As I am currently at our second home in the Highlands of Scotland, detailed planning of programs etc. will not be possible until after our return to Berkeley around 15 December, but I hope to make progress in the New Year.
With much appreciation for your interest and best wishes for the new academic year.
I am an Italian essayist and artist, as well as an 'independent' Milton scholar and illustrator. Many Miltonian works by me (drawings, brief essays, studies on Milton's sources) had been published in the Milton List, University of Richmond, and I am regularly in touch with several American scholars, dealing with Literature from the Divine Comedy to Paradise Lost. I wonder if you would like to accept me as a contributor to the Milton Revealed website. Please see in attachement:
- A series of PL illustrations, which have meanwhile been sold to a distinguished collector in New York City;
- and a reworking of Paradise Lost through 250 experimental haikus.
I thank you for your kindness. With best regards,
Many thanks for your inquiry about our “Milton Revealed” site. We are happy to have you join our group: your work is certainly original and challenging. Just how our site and group will develop will probably be decided on my return from our home in the Highlands of Scotland on 15 December. Thereafter I hope to recruit the Miltonists on the UC Berkeley campus to advise on our future program, so exactly what may be developed may become clearer in early 2012. However. I will see if we can open up enough before then to accommodate some of your work. Do you have some compact suggestions for its current modest scale? With best wishes,
Fabulous new Milton site on the web! "Milton Revealed" found at the Townsend Humanities Lab, University of California at Berkeley: townsendlab.berkeley.edu
Reported by Cornell College Department of English and Creative Writing
I attach the web info for my review of the Bristol Old Vic production. You won't remember me, but I was a Berkeley student yea these many years ago.
Best wishes to the project, and to you.
Neil Forsyth, Professor of English, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
[Summary of Production Details only in Review:]
Forsyth, Neil. "Review of Paradise Lost, performed at the Bristol Old Vic." Early Modern Literary Studies 10.1 (May, 2004) 16.1-11 . Director, David Farr; Stephen Noonan (Satan), Kananu Kirimi (Eve).
A good deal of cutting was necessary. There is a brief introduction in Hell, a kind of bleak waste land with Satan and his angels in colourless tunics, military dress, or grey suits, Sin is wearing a red dress and displaying some thigh as she embraces Satan and identifies his adversary as their son, Death. Adam and Eve enter, naked. Angels flutter their wings and pass Adam and Eve briefs to put on. Up on top of a tall piece of furniture, Satan lowers a speaking tube into Eve's ear for the dream sequence. The first act ends with a brief visit from the angel Raphael, played by a boy. The second act begins with Eve's suggestion to Adam that they divide their labours. Next, comes Satan as snake. He takes off his jacket and turns his back to the audience to reveal the lighted image of a snake on his back. Then the lustful sex scene is done as a dance, and clothes are donned as wraps before the angry recriminations, during which Eve slaps Adam in the face and he pushes her to the ground. Sin and Death enter again, this time with Death on stilts, and Satan sends them down to earth. The devils return to the stage. And here comes that boy again, this time as God walking in the garden. The guardian angels come on with suitcases, on their way back to Heaven, while Eve, at the back of the stage, puts on a red blouse and black skirt. Sin and modernity at once. Eve now makes the great sequence of reconciliation speeches from Book X. Adam and Eve shuffle forward to the front of the stage and sing a song which goes like this: 'Wash me, cleanse me, etc', repeated several times. Then those angels come in again, joining in the song as a chorus. The boy in the white suit (who is now Michael) tells them they have attained 'the sum of wisdom'. Slowly, and with some renewed dignity, Adam and Eve climb a kind of scaffold erected at the back of the stage, and the lighting leaves them in silhouette, a fine theatrical moment.
It was delightful to recapture past UCB connections. I have to say I sympathize with your censure of the Bristol production. We were fortunate that ours at UCB was less badly received. As I am only learning how to use this site, I hope you will not mind if I post a summary of the basic productions details from your review on the site blog [see above], as other participants are anxious to know of such information. We plan to compile such data in proper form in due course. Please let me know if my excerpting is acceptable. With much appreciation and best wishes, Hugh.
PARADISE LOST by John Milton; Adapted by Ben Power; Directed by Rupert Goold (Oxford Playhouse); Tour: 30 May-3 June, Guildford, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre; 6-10 June, Dundee Rep 20-24 June, Oxford Playhouse; 26 June -1 July Hackney Empire.
Data consolidated from a full review by Lizzie Loveridge, 16 May 2006 performance at Richmond Theatre, The Green, Richmond, Surrey: http://www.curtainup.com/paradiselost.html
Mostly using Milton’s verse, the script covers the fall to Hell of Satan (Jasper Britton), and his council with Beelzebub (Stephen Fewell), Beliol (Vinette Robinson) and Moloch (Christian Bradley), about taking revenge through Adam (Christian Bradley) and Eve (Vinette Robinson). The first act covers Hell and shows Satan's travel to Creation. The second act shows his seduction of Adam and Eve, after which they “dress in modern clothes taken from suitcases” rather than in fig leaves. God's son (Charles Aitken), their redeemer, is present from the first “in a modern hooded jacket” but finally “shows his crucifixion wounds.” Loveridge observes that “a very physical interpretation and startling lighting, costume and makeup contribute to an outstandingly dramatic theatrical event”; thus Eden has no vegetation “just bright green lighting.” She stresses the brilliance of the choreography, as when “Satan is flung into the ocean and appears to swim suspended on ropes.”
Oliver Wort: opw20 at cam.ac.uk
Dear Anne, Hugh, and all: I think I'm correct in saying that the Oxford Playhouse Paradise Lost was adapted for the stage by Ben Power, writer and dramaturg,and his script is available:
John Milton's “Paradise Lost”, Ben Power adapter [Oxford Stage Company], 85 pages paperback, Oberon Books Ltd: 25 April 2006.
Michelle Zappa michelleazappa at gmail.com 6 October 2011
I've read Power's printed text of the play. Something that struck me was Power's use of the Son as Milton's voice - giving lines that in *Paradise Lost* are spoken by the narrator (i.e. Milton) instead to the Son - and creating a complex character that literally unites man (Adam & Eve, but also the audience) with God (at the top of a ladder). Best, Shell
I am surprised by the number of keen, if clumsy, undergraduates who are concentrating on "Paradise Lost" in a seminar I am now running, in which we read PL, "Frankenstein," and Philip Pullman's young adult trilogy "His Dark Materials." This last phenomenon has done much to rekindle interest among the yoof, and I think you could mention this on your site - and so sound less defensive about how Milton's stock is so fallen. NB also the new opera Seven Angels (I saw it at the experimental theatre under Covent Garden this summer) also purports to be a version of PL. James Grantham Turner (UCB)
In connection with James Turner's observations it may be helpful to include the three following excerpts:
Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" (1818) shares Milton's concerns about the authority of the creator over his creation (Frankenstein’s monster, God’s Adam). Adam's loneliness invites God’s creation of Eve - but the monster's desire for a bride is denied by Frankenstein. See John Lawrence “The Legacy of ‘Paradise Lost’” at http://www.christs.cam.ac.uk/darknessvisible/imitation.html
“The edition of ‘Paradise Lost’ in the Oxford World's Classics series (2005) has an introduction by one of Milton's most famous modern admirers, the best-selling novelist Philip Pullman. Pullman provides a general introduction and introduces each of the twelve books of the poem. In these commentaries, Pullman illuminates the power of the poem and its achievement as a story, suggests how we should read it today, and describes its influence on him and his acclaimed trilogy ‘His Dark Materials,’ which takes its title from a line in the poem. He is both personal and insightful, with enthusiasm for Milton's language, skill, and gifts as a storyteller. He encourages readers to experience the poem for themselves. Pullman's passion for 'Paradise Lost' will attract a new generation of readers.” (condensed from the publisher’s description)
“Seven Angels”: Performed by the Opera Group, Linbury Studio, Covent Garden.
The seven angels of Luke Bedford's new opera are supernumeraries from Paradise Lost: angels, we are told, "abandoned by God, forgotten by Satan, passed over by Milton, fallen out of history". Together they try to make sense of the post-apocalyptic wasteland in which they find themselves. The Edenic garden they assume once existed is recreated in the form of a series of narratives, peopled by a self-centred king and queen, a gluttonous prince, a chef, waitress, porter and gardener. The garden is finally revealed as a delusion: war, fanaticism and environmental despoliation have made it uninhabitable. And yet there is a glimmer of hope at the end as two angels refuse to abandon the world. (From the review by Barry Millington in the "Evening Standard," London, 13 July 2011)
New Milton Website: Milton and Popular (and High) Culture
Wed Sep 14 14:58:11 EDT 2011
Dear Hugh, I viewed your Milton Revealed site with interest. International Authors has recently published a literary anthology, Emanations, that is fraught with Miltonic materials. I'll briefly review these here:
1) Elkie Riches' short story "Echoes of Eve" is built upon a fall theme, pairing the idea of the fall with a notion of "demonic semiotics." She explores a language/code system that behaves with something like sentience. 2) My story "Ape and Super Ape" dilates upon Miltonic themes, exploring notions of political naivete, broken sexual relationships, guilt, and fall and imprisonment. 3) Vitasta Raina's story "Good God" represents a gnostic cosmos. 4) Michael Butterworth's story "Das Neue Leben" places Adolph Hitler in a tropical garden Eden, where he is seduced by a talking snake. 5) I have an essay, "An American Quintet" on American political theory that draws directly from Milton, using as a point of departure Bernard Bailyn's claims for the centrality of Milton in American revolutionary theory as presented in his book ‘Ideological Origins of the American Revolution.” I draw lines between Milton and Wittgenstein, Bruce Lee, Saint Augustine and William Golding. 6) Jeffery Hodges uses Milton in his essay on "Lost in Translation." Jeffery's point, in considering satanic and human understanding, seems to me to fit the aims of your site: to present Milton as a "prototype of modern temperament.”
By the way, as to the "students' newly heightened visual expectations" you mention, I should point out that Emanations is profusely illustrated (many of the illustrations are by Dario Rivarossa). You can view the book here: http://www.amazon.com/Emanations-Carter-Kaplan/dp/0615494404/ref=sr_1_1?... Regards, Carter Kaplan
Dear Hugh Richmond,
I am cleaning out some of my e-files and came upon the one below my signature, from 2006. I doubt you still have extra copies of "John Milton's Drama of Paradise Lost" but I send this email in hopes that you do so that I can have one. You know, I earned my B.A. (1987) and M.A. (1988) from UCB’s English Department, and every other year, when I teach the undergraduate Milton course, I have half the class stage A Mask and the other half stage Samson Agonistes. Many thanks.
Adios, Angelica Duran, Associate Professor, English and Comparative Literature Director, Religious Studies
Purdue University 500 Oval Drive - Heavilon Hall West Lafayette, Indiana 47907 (765) email@example.com
On 9/14/06 7:04 PM, "firstname.lastname@example.org" wrote:
Dear Fellow Miltonists
Recently I became aware of some new developments about the staging of Paradise Lost which may be of general interest. As a professor emeritus I have begun to restore my involvement with Milton after much work on Shakespeare - as reflected in our website on Shakespearestaging.berkeley.edu. However, even this site indicates that our interest at UCB in teaching through performance has regularly extended to Milton, with recordings of the music to Comus in 1986, of an updated performance of Comus as a graduating exercise in 1994, and of a staging in 1985 of Paradise Lost. These items were fused in our video documentary Milton By Himself (Films for the Humanities).
As a result of these activities, a few months ago, while on research leave in Scotland, I received a request for the script for our performance of Paradise Lost - which involved creation of a two-hour, neoclassical play, based entirely on use of most of direct speech in the epic. This request came from David Burns, who regularly performs selections from Milton's epic at such venues as the Edinburgh Festival. He tells me that there have been several recent attempts to stage the epic since ours, which claim to be the first such occasions (see attachment for full details).
In unearthing a copy for him I found that I have a number of review copies still in hand and it occurs to me that these might well be sent to any interested Miltonists, free of charge (though I note with surprise that the script is still listed by Amazon as for sale at $18.98). If any members of this Milton site would like to receive a copy of "John Milton's Drama of Paradise Lost" (New York, Peter Lang, 1992), please let me know at the above e-mail address. With best wishes, Hugh Macrae Richmond
Many thanks for your inquiry. I have found a spare copy of the PL script, which I will mail to you next week after the Christmas rush has subsided. There may be several other copies buried in my campus office, which I have not visited during our recent five-month stay at our house in Scotland. I’ll check soon.
In addition to the UCB overlap I guess we already have another connection in Peter’s MLA collection on “Paradise Lost” where I believe we both figure as part of its supposed “excessive” attention to performance. We also share an interest in Anglo-Hispanic overlaps, as seen in the UCB Shakespeare Program documentary “Shakespeare and the Spanish Connection” which can be found in the video section of our website at http://shakespearestaging.berkeley.edu/ It covers much shared religious material. There are also several essays on Spanish influence in England in its bibliographic sections.
As it happens, as you may have noticed, we have also just started a comparable Milton project at UCB which shares your interests in performance approaches, at http://townsendlab.berkeley.edu/milton-revealed
We hope soon to add to this site our various video recordings of Milton productions, of “Comus” and “Paradise Lost.” Have you recorded any of your performances of “Comus” and “Samson Agonistes”? These days it is easy and inexpensive to do so, and very useful for teaching purposes. We would be interested in seeing anything you might wish to submit to the site, as well as any comments or suggestions you might have about it now and its potential development. With best wishes for Christmas and the New Year,
Many thanks for the book, which I just received on this my first day back to the office after a relaxing vacation. This indeed is the first year that I plan to video my students' performances. Thanks very much, really, for the resources below. I teach the Milton undergraduate course this Spring 2012 semester so will slowly make my way through the many resources on-line, especially that Spanish section. UCB: the education that keeps giving! Happy new year to you too.
Adios, Angelica Duran
Associate Professor, English and Comparative Literature
Director, Religious Studies Purdue University
[Posted on old site: Thu, 09/29/2011 - 5:04am]