Miltonathon 2016: Can You Take the Heat?
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Miltonathon 2016: Can You Take the Heat?

It's a devilishly good time

18
Miltonathon 2016: Can You Take the Heat?
“Of man’s first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater man
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,
Sing heavenly muse…” - Book I, ll. 1-6

Who will read the famous first verses of John Milton’s “Paradise Lost” to kick off the literary event of the season? We shall all see next Sunday at precisely 11 am in Lathrop Hall at the second annual Colgate Miltonathon where students and faculty will read over ten thousand lines of “Paradise Lost” over the course of nine hours.

Members of Colgate’s ENGL200 (Major British Writers) and ENGL325 (Milton) as well as the Hamilton College Miltonist and some of her students will be in attendance to take on the challenge. Professor Deborah Knuth Klenck took over the ENGL325: Milton class after the passing of the original instructor, George C. Hudson Jr., in November of 2013. She started the Miltonathon in his honor and says, “I think George would have liked this. He took things very seriously, and this is a nice combination of serious and fun.” Usually anything ending in -athon is about stamina and willpower. The Miltonathon, however, is so much more. As you may come to know if you attend the event, John Milton (1608-1674) was a genius, and his greatest work, “Paradise Lost,” is twelve books of pure adventure which follows the old-as-time, beloved characters of Satan, God, Adam, Eve, Beelzebub, Raphael, Gabriel, Sin, Death, and others. Think you know everything about the Fall of Man and the Original Sin? Think again. Milton revisits these events and tells them from new perspectives to give us a wildly more entertaining story than we’ve heard before. According to Professor Klenck, this event will be a “cornucopia” of delightful treats for the audience to snack on, just as “Paradise Lost” is a “cornucopia of history, theology, cosmology, and the soap opera-like marital issues of Adam and Eve.” Not only is “Paradise Lost” a “tutorial in conventions of the epic poem” but it is an “encyclopedia of Milton’s knowledge.”

This year's Miltonathon will be March 6, starting at 11 am in the Fager Lounge on the third floor of Lathrop. Everyone is welcome and can come at any time to read a part of the poem or just to watch. Pronunciation guides will be provided as Milton tends to use some rare words, even making up a few himself. If you are an English major/minor or considering becoming one, this event is a great way to meet some students and professors of the department. Various foods will be served as well as some choice puns - Adam's Apple Turnovers, Devilled Eggs, etc. It’s a devilishly good time.

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