Friday, November 22, 2013

Media Resources on Satan's Humanity in Paradise Lost

I've been doing some alternative media and social searches for my research on Milton's Satan figure in Paradise Lost, and it's been interesting to hear peoples' perspectives. I keep wondering whether some honor code officer is going to come over and arrest me for doing queries for videos about the humanity of Satan, but so far, things have gone smoothly. I've come across a fair number of resources relating to my topic and have only had to wade through a few Satanist videos and a wealth of screamo/hard rock music based on Milton's Satan figure. I guess in some way, that's art, too, so I should probably care more about it...

In any case, I wanted to share some of the preliminary materials that I've found. I posted a while ago about the Paradise Lost video game, and I'm also a big fan of Eric Whiatacre's Paradise Lost music. This video won't embed for some reason, but it's an original composition that a student wrote as a part of his study of Paradise Lost in a humanities class. The description notes, "Through John Milton's eyes, Lucifer is a sympathetic and human like character, not the evil corrupted figure we usually see when we think of Lucifer." This is a fairly simple piece of commentary, but it nonetheless shows that he is seriously engaging this idea of Satan's humanity. I don't know that he would be a phenomenal resource, but it's certainly neat to see how an interest in Paradise Lost can lead to other creative efforts.

This guy (-->) made a series of video about the Biblical Satanic figure, and while they don't directly reference Paradise Lost, the intro uses a number of images from Blake's illustrations of Paradise Lost, and the Biblical insights that he offers up are pretty interesting as well. He speaks Hebrew, so he goes through Genesis, evaluating and explaining the language of different passages about Satan.

One woman on YouTube has made a couple of posts related to Milton's Satan figure, and they are actually pretty interesting in terms of looking at how the Satanic anti-hero became the foundation for modern characters like Wolverine, James Bond, and others. I won't embed the videos here, because the lady has a thing with not wearing pants when she's trying to engage people in serious literary studies, but if you are interested in listening, heres the link.

Concept art for Legendary Pictures'
scrapped film, Paradise Lost
OYahoo, I found a listing for auditions for Paradise Lost the film, which was apparently being produced by Legendary Pictures. Yeah... that Legendary Pictures. But you might have noticed I said, "was" being produced. Apparently, just a few months after filming began, they scrapped the entire project. I was able to find a few interesting pieces of concept art, but other than that, it appears that the project has been cast out with little hope for redemption.

Another article on Yahoo proved very valuable for my research despite the fact that it came from a more informal setting. In "Resurrection in Paradise Lost," Paris Kaye writes about the advice that Yale's Harold Bloom gave to him as a way of better understanding and enjoying Paradise Lost:
Harold's gift to me was in the form of a suggestion. He intimated that I should not read Milton with the eyes of one brought up in the Judeo-Christian tradition or in any other religious tradition for that matter. One should read Milton with those same eyes that read Shakespeare, Cervantes and other writers of that period. One should consume Paradise Lost with the eyes of a Secularist.
This ties in directly to my thesis, which states that we should de-couple Milton's Satan figure from the Biblical or archetypal Satan figure, so I'm sending an email to Mr. Kaye and to Dr. Bloom to see if they have any resources that might prove useful in further investigating the humanity of Satan. I tried finding Harold Bloom on Twitter but came across mostly fake (defamatory) accounts. There was one that looked like it might have actually been him, but he posted only during the MLA2013 conference and consistently used "y'all," so I'm not so sure... In any case, I'll hope to hear back from him and Mr. Kaye soon!

That's about all the time that I have for now, but I'll finish with just a couple links for anyone else studying Satan (and so that I can get back to them later):

Paradise Lost - John Milton's Daring Depiction of Satan


  1. Have you looked at some of the art that's been inspired by Paradise Lost? Particularly Satan? I found one picture that could be very powerful. I think it's cool how people are engaging with the idea of Satan being a more human figure.

  2. Good research on various Milton media. I'd like to hear how you bridge these discoveries to your working thesis statement. AND, I want to hear what Dr. Bloom said to you!