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Skidmore College

Milton marathon

November 20, 2017
students read Milton
Students read along, ready to take their turns.

As John Milton’s 1667 epic explains original sin, “knowledge is as food, and needs no less her temperance over appetite.” But temperance of knowledge went straight out the window as Professor Susannah Mintz’s upper-level English course on Milton presented a tag-team reading of his complete Paradise Lostacross 10 hours and three campus locations, last Saturday.

Prof. Andrew Bozio reading Milton
Prof. Andrew Bozio takes part.

Snacks and coffee helped, but love of Milton’s verbal extravagance and eloquence is mostly what fueled more than 30 students and other readers, including professors from Tim Wientzen and Kate Greenspan in English to Susan Walzer in sociology. Mintz and freshman Claire Holthaus saw the marathon through from first to last word, while others came and went as they could, always leaving at least small corps taking it in turns to read aloud from noon to 10 p.m.

About halfway through, one student departed with “I’ll be back later, when there’s more Eve-centric content.” Another, chewing cold pizza, told a counterpart, “I love how Adam says he has something important to tell Eve and she goes, ‘Oh, I already heard it all—at great length!’”

Intoning lines like “fierce effusion roll’d of smoke and bickering flame, and sparkles dire,” the doughty readers brought it home in style at 10:05 p.m.—with jubilee and loud hosannas.

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