Monday, November 25, 2013

Hunger in Paradise: Appetite as Character Development in the Works of Milton

I can confidently say that building this has been the single most helpful step in the writing process I've ever worked on. I'm still working on broadening my resources (my traditional sources section feels so bare I want to cry), but I think I've managed to create something that will give me a good start in my essay.

Thesis: In Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained Milton uses hunger, both physical and metaphorical, as the defining tool for character development in Satan and Christ respectively, a key aspect that, when compared with the author’s other works, ultimately illustrating the author's point that it is not circumstance, but the resulting action, which defines a person and their ultimate reward.

Social Graph

Marian Spencer- After taking two English classes together, we have a number of shared experiences and perceptions that allow us to discuss varied topics in a comfortable but informed manner. Marian is a talented writer herself, and while she focuses on prose she has a firm understanding of the mechanics and use of the poetic form.

Hannah Roberts- Hannah has spent a semester abroad in the United Kingdom and is familiar with English literature, including Milton’s works, on a firsthand basis. She is a fellow English major with a great deal of knowledge regarding poetry and prose.

Tara Forbush- Tara is a student of literature and creative writing, and we’ve taken two courses together, both of which involved British poetry and Milton’s works. Besides her own personal experience with writing, Tara has published papers on literature, and can give firsthand knowledge of the refining process.

Matthew Emanuel Fee- Matthew is a student of poetry and philosophy, two fields very conducive to writing about Milton. He creates his own works, and can provide valuable insight into the creative process.

Joseph Levi Andrews- Joseph is a man of many talents and has a wide field of interests. He can generate ideas about a subject from a variety of sources, a talent that will be very helpful in relating hunger to Milton’s works.

Drashti Mehta -Drashti, who I met through google plus, has written about Paradise Lost, and I think she will have a unique perspective on Milton's writings as English is not her first language.

New Media

Prof. William D. Kolbrener, Lecture on John Milton's Paradise Lost

Prof. Kolbrener’s recorded lecture provides a fantastic basis for Paradise Lost and Milton’s life, and can serve as another perspective on the basics, a segment of my essay which I was previously concerned about representing accurately. His own credentials are admirable, and I have also listed him in my Social Networks section as I believe his perspective on Milton can aid my subject.

Hunger (2008)

This film heartrendingly brilliant and not just a little depressing, and it gave me a new perspective on voluntary starvation. Centered around an Irish political prisoner who takes part in a hunger strike during the eighties, the film captures the various emotions you'd expect from such a piece, and I found the even representation about both sides to be an interesting addition.

Yale Open Course: Paradise Regained, Books III-IV 

I appreciated this lecture's examination of Milton's poetic technique and theory, and while I don't agree with all the points the speaker makes I think it's an interesting viewpoint. It's given me a feel for the context of Milton's works, and I feel I'll be better able to communicate my point of view.

Social Networks

John Rumrich- “John Rumrich teaches the works of John Milton in their political and religious setting, seventeenth-century British poetry until the Restoration, and Shakespeare's plays as informed by their cultural and literary contexts.” Prof. Rumrich has an extensive knowledge of Milton’s works, and I look forward to discussing my topic and thoughts with him within the context of the larger picture of Milton’s body of work.

Prof. William D Kolbrener- Prof. Kolbrener teaches at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat-Gan, Isreal in the Humanities department of English. I’m considering incorporating his paper “Jacobite and High Church Appropriations,” Milton, Rights and Liberties” in my own, and I anticipate inquiring as to his views on the subject.

Jason Kerr- Prof. Kerr teaches a variety of literary history subjects, and am in the process of finding his dissertation regarding Milton’s use of “scriptural interpretation” in his works. Also, because it is winter and I am a bit lazy, it is quite nice to have someone I can talk to on campus.

Brad Smith- Brad Smith is the CEO of Intuit, and while he does not have any outspoken academic leanings I am using his article  "’Paradise Lost’: How an Epic Poem About Heaven Can Be a Career Guide” in my essay to support how Milton had other motives than religion when inserting themes into his works. Though he may not have time, I will try to get in contact with him about this article.

Traditional Sources:

Bradshaw, John. A Concordance to Milton’s Poetical Works. N.C.: S. Sonnenschein & co.,
1894. Scan.
I've found this concordance to be immensely useful in finding where specific terms are located in Milton's works. Since I'm broadening my topic a little, it's helpful to be able to reference a good deal of sources from a single location. 

“‘Jacobite and High Church Appropriations,.” Milton, Rights and Liberties.” Eds.
Christophe Tournu and Neil Forsyth, Peter Lang (2007), pp. 99-111.
I'm using this work to explore how Milton used used his religious thoughts and ideas in his works, which I need to establish the (obvious) fact that he was actually trying to say something in his works, not just write pretty things. I may also use it as a source to refute a few points, but we shall see.

Milton, John and Hume, Patrick. The Poetical Works of Mr. John Milton, Volume 2. New
York: J. Tonson, 1720. Scan.
I'm using this volume in addition to the one we've read for class because I a) like old books and b) think that the older vernacular present in the book is a valuable asset in interpreting Milton. I'm also examining the editor's notes at the beginning.

"’Paradise Lost’: How an Epic Poem About Heaven Can Be a Career Guide.” Linkedin.
Pulse, 2013. 20 Nov 2013.
Mr. Smith's article, while much different from my topic, has a few key ideas that I caught a hold of, like how Milton didn't write Paradise Lost for a purely religious purpose. While I think Mr. Smith gets a little excited about this and doesn't give the religions themes as much importance as I think they hold, he points out several things that I plan to use.

Shawcross, John T. John Milton: The Self and the Word. N.C.: University Press of

Kentucky, 2001. Scan.
This biographical work will lend insight to Milton's own life, a point which I'm still considering adding to my essay. I think it could be interesting to find points in his life where he also went through a sort of hunger and compare them to his literary ones. However I'm not sure if this is in keeping with the original goal, so I will at least keep the source for introductory material.

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