Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

100 Philosophers 100 Artworks 100 Words #1

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Philosopher: Hud Hudson (Western Washington)

Artwork: John Milton, Paradise Lost (1674), Epic Poem in Blank Verse

An Image from Gustave Doré’s 1866 Illustrations for Paradise Lost

100 Words: I’ve never had to pause from reading to catch my breath until I encountered Paradise Lost. I’ve finished passages and thought – “I’ve never read anything so stunning” – and then, a few pages later, I’ve put the book down compelled to think that thought again. Samuel Johnson hit the mark – “The characteristick quality of [Milton’s] poem is sublimity. He sometimes descends to the elegant, but his element is the great. He can occasionally invest himself with grace; but his natural port is gigantick loftiness. He can please when pleasure is required; but it is his peculiar power to astonish.” I’m astonished.

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