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#ProjectParadise: A group reading project

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Well. A few days ago I ran a poll on Twitter to find the most popular long poem for a group reading project and the clear winner, with 44% of the vote, was John Milton’s seventeenth century epic, Paradise Lost.

I’ve been inundated with volunteers eager to read a section aloud and that is exactly what we’re going to do, releasing one video a day for the next month or so. We’ll be reading the 1674 version which is 798 lines long. The poem is not conveniently divided up into stanzas, so each volunteer will read a carefully chosen snippet of differing lengths to try to match the syntax as well as possible. Some of the volunteers are self confessed Milton fanatics, others are complete novices (we even have a maths teacher reading one section!) so please forgive us if some of the readings are a little… jerky?

Anyway, if you’ve never experienced the poem before, it’s a fabulous old beast. The entire epic is over 10,000 lines long, takes over 6 hours to read, is divided into 10 Books and was published in 12 parts (Books 7 and 10 are both split into two.) We’ll only be tackling Book 1.

The epic begins after Lucifer’s unsuccessful revolt against God. He and the other rebel angels have been cast into Hell. We pick up the tale with Lucifer (now Satan) and the other rebel angels waking up to find themselves floating on a lake of fire in Hell, transformed into devils. Satan delivers one of the most famous speeches in English literature to rouse his minions and begin the fight back against God. They work to build a capital in Hell, Pandemonium, and form a council to debate waging war against Heaven. Satan is a wonderfully charismatic creation and so sympathetically written that William Blake famously wrote that Milton was “of the Devil’s party without knowing it.”

The schedule of readings is below. I will (hopefully) be adding a video link everyday until our big finish on 26th May using the hashtag #ProjectParadise. Additionally Joe Nutt, author of A Guidebook to Paradise Lost has recording a brief analysis of the poem.

Hope you enjoy it!

1. Me – Lines 1-26

2. @Gwenelope – Lines 27-49

3. @purplepenguinpublishing – Lines 50-74

4. @MrShepstone  – Lines 75-94

5. @LadyPerinbridge 24/4 – Lines 95-114

6. @MrsRHEnglish 25/4 – Lines 115-134

7. @DLCamsell 26/4 – Lines 135-156

8. @MrsMoEnglish1 27/4 – Lines 157-177

9. @stoneman_claire 28/4 – Lines 178-191

10. @LyndsayBawden 29/4 – Lines 192-208

11. @nene_mitch702 30/4 – Lines 209-224

12. @MsJasmineMN 1/5 – Lines 225-241

13. @Lit_liverbird 2/5 – Lines 242-255

14. @EKL_LNE 3/5 – Lines 256-270

15. @justjessting 4/5 – Lines 271-291

16. @iago99 5/5 – Lines 292-313

17. @Hugsutd01 6/5 – Lines 314-330


18. @VHPS_AsstHead 7/5 – Lines 331-350


19. @booksandbowie 8/5 – Lines 351-375

20. @MissMermaidMel 9/5 – Lines 376-391

21. @TillyTeacher 10/5 – Lines 392-411

22. @eyebeams 11/5 – Lines 412-431

23. @MrsRileyEng 12/5 – Lines 432-466

24. @tjpgarry 13/5 – Lines 467-489

25. @MrDraperMaths 14/5 – Lines 490-505

26. @Jade_Hickin 15/5 – Lines 506-530

27. @GuavaFruitTree 16/5 – Lines 531-555

28. @teacherhead 17/5 – Lines 556-573

29. @markandbark41 18/5 – Lines 574-608

30. @MrsSGlanville – 19/5 – Lines 609-630

31. @JenEMKennedy 20/5 – Lines 631-662

32. @jon_hutchinson_ 21/5 – Lines 663-685

33. @C_Hendrick 22/5 – Lines 686-704

34. @Trivium21c 23/5 – Lines 705-737

35. @jamestheo 24/5 – Lines 738-751

36. @SaysMiss 25/5 – Lines 752-776

37. Tom Bennett 26/5 – Lines 777-798

Interesting essay samples and examples on: https://essays.io/movie-analysis-examples-samples/

How should we decide what knowledge to teach?

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