Before I started reading Paradise Lost I picked up the Norton Critical Edition and was pleased to find C.S. Lewis among the authors excerpted in the selection of modern criticism. Pleased, and somewhat surprised… after all, he takes Milton’s Christianity seriously, he insists on the ridiculousness rather than the heroism of Milton’s Satan, and he’s of that quaint school of criticism which gives consideration to authorial intention.
Lewis was one of the major figures helping me find my way into adulthood. At some point, though, I kind of drifted away from him. I seem to recall reading Miracles in 1998 or 1999 and then sometime in the last 5 or 6 years I re-read all of the Narnia books and that was it. Reading A Preface to Paradise Lost brings with it a sense of coming full circle. It was Lewis (and Tolkien) that really spurred my interest in Homer, Virgil, and Beowulf, and there’s something deeply comforting and rewarding in reading him again.