Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Golden Compass And Paradise Lost

While other women gave up clubbing and going to spas when they became mothers, I gave up reading the Sunday New York Times. Reading was my luxury and my vice, and the Gauthier boys would have no part of Mom sitting with stacks of newsprint piled up around her when she could, say, be reading to them. (Truly, I can remember hiding in one of the bedrooms behind part of a newspaper and a kid coming up and smacking it with his own book that he wanted me to read to him. That's cute, isn't it?)

I'm on vacation this week, and the only kids I see are in restaurants and thus someone else's problem. So I spent a big chunk of Sunday afternoon reading two hefty Sunday papers next to a fire.

"Why should I care?" you may ask.

Well, the Book Review carried an essay by Sophie Gee called Great Adaptations in which she discusses the recent movie adaptation of Beowulf and Philip Pullman's adaptation of John Milton's Paradise Lost.

I've heard of The Golden Compass's connection to Paradise Lost before, of course. But since reading an excerpt from Paradise Lost in one of my British Lit survey courses isn't one of my finer college memories, I can't say that knowing Compass is a reworking of Paradise means a whole lot to me. If anything, I've always felt the Paradise Lost thing explains why I found the Compass sequels so incomprehensible.

I can't say that Gee's essay helped a whole lot, but I certainly know more about Milton now than I did before I read it.

2 comments:

Chris said...
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