Scenes from a marathon: My story about St. Olaf College’s all-day reading of Paradise Lost is now up:
In between his reading stints, Chad Goodroad, a senior majoring in English and political science, hawked black “Milton Marathon” T-shirts at a card table. Someone asked him how sales were. “Crazy,” he said. “Actually, kinda slow.” A student in one of the shirts knitted her way through Book III. A professor’s toddlers played nearby on a harvest display of pumpkins and sheaves.
…Participants fortified themselves with coffee and Subway sandwiches. Another English professor contributed a devil’s-food cake and a pair of devil’s horns. Somebody drew a picture of the archangel Michael on the chalkboard.
“It’s cool,” Mr. Goodroad observed midafternoon, when the group had made it to Book VI. “It’s kind of like a purging.”
Miraculously, nobody’s energy flagged. It wasn’t just the coffee and sandwiches; read out loud, Milton’s blank verse can be propulsive, and the readers had caught the rhythm.