Sunday, December 15, 2013

On the Creation of Modern Comparison

Except this is really my last one of my undergraduate career.
Still, it feels never-ending. Probably will be.
I'll be honest: there's very little of Milton that I felt any connection to. Scott wrote a post about T.S. Eliot and his thoughts on Milton, and I responded to it with the following: "Verbose inefficiency seems a good description for what I've been annoyed with."

There were only a few times that I found myself interested in Milton's work. Those times were his Divorce Tracts and Areopagitica. That's not to say that I didn't find class discussions and the primary texts interesting. I just mean to say that Milton didn't astound me with his poetry the way that Eliot does. I don't like very much poetry, so I will always be more fond of prose.

But there was just something about Areopagitica I could connect with. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press have always been important to me. I have spent countless nights talking until well past sunrise with a close friend about issues such as CISPA, SOPA, the NSA, and Edward Snowden, along with other issues, past and present. How they connect. I started writing several blog posts about the connections because of those discussions.

Those blog posts spurred my decision to write about modern connections to Milton. I wrote a Facebook post and tagged friends I knew were interested in the Snowden leaks and the NSA, and I was able to get a bunch of useful information. I also emailed Dr. Kerr, and he was able to offer me some good information, and he further helped me edit my paper when I met with him last week. He was able to give me some names of good books and sources to look at, and I was able to find most of my articles regarding Snowden online via my own research and some help from friends. 

After reviewing Areopagitica, I decided that I should narrow my focus to a more biographical approach on Milton and use just a few quotes from his work to connect it to the modern day example. 

I wasn't overly ambitious with submitting my work, but I submitted it to Criterion, BYU's literary criticism journal. The prompt was "Why Literature?" and I figured that my paper answers that question really quite well. Literature matters because it helps us learn from connecting it to modern goings on. Literature matters because it helps us learn from the past in order to make the future better. In the case of Milton, his work makes us realize that we need people like Edward Snowden that do what they believe is right in the name of protecting liberty, particularly the freedom of speech and the right to privacy. 

I think that my work will be relevant to my audience mainly because it deals with a modern day example that people can relate to. While people don't necessarily believe they can relate to Milton, this gives them an opportunity to approach a work that they might not otherwise not have and realize that many of the issues that Milton was wrestling with are still a big deal today. It engages people with a modern issue and utilizes it to inform people about something they are otherwise unfamiliar with. 

1 comment:

  1. This was an excellent way to find contemporary relevance for Milton. I'm glad you were ambitious enough to take on this comparison.