Compared to the last reading log entry, this one is embarrassingly short.
- C.S. Lewis, A Preface To Paradise Lost, Chapters V–XXI
- John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book V–VI (unfinished)
I’ve finished with Lewis’s Preface but continue to listen to the Yale lectures by Prof. John Rogers. The lectures are interesting for all of their information about Milton’s life, and for its exploration of Milton’s other writings. Less interesting, however, are the key points of the lectures. Professor Rogers is painting a portrait of Milton as a rebellious heretic against orthodox Christianity, and one who is scandalously sensual. The thing is, however, that the line of orthodoxy against which Milton is being contrasted is either very particular to his time and circumstances or else theoretically derived without much of a relationship to the actuality of Christian theological understanding. I have thought time after time that these lectures sound like the professor has determined his thesis and is working like a sculptor in clay to make the details all fit and point the right way. I was just this weekend commenting to my wife that I’m betting he had a book in the offing during the lectures and that the lectures were part of his working out of the details. Revisiting the Open Yale site today I see that, “He is currently working on a book on Milton’s relationship to antitrinitarian heresy, entitled Milton and the Heresy of Individualism.”
Lewis’s biases are that of orthodox Christianity. His reading allows Milton his Christianity, and keeps primarily to what is to be discovered within the poem. This approach is less sensational, but makes far more sense to someone experienced with Christianity from the inside. I’m with Lewis in thinking that it’s better to temporarily try to fit myself to the work’s view of the world than to try to make the work fit my view of the world. I guess I’m guilty of being scandalously old fashioned.
- Paul Barry, Head First Python, Chapters I–IV (unfinished)
I normally have a difficult time with programming books. They are either too rudimentary and I lose interest because it’s not keeping up with my brain, or they are too advanced and I get bored and then lost in the endless stream of technical information. This book strikes a nice balance. It’s relatively entertaining, and relatively fast paced. It certainly feels like I’m learning useful stuff and making quick progress.