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Celebrating John Milton’s 400th Birthday


Williamsburg Art   Historical Center

Celebrating John Milton’s 400th Birthday

The unrivaled arts festival honoring Milton’s birthday and Paradise Lost, the greatest poem in the English language. Bridging classic literature and contemporary fine art, performing arts and poetry reading.

Blind Immortal John Milton


Couched amid historical artifacts and contemporary art celebrating PARADISE LOST, the greatest poem in the English language. Perhaps the largest birthday party for Milton in the world, with poets, artists and composers. We will be documenting this extravaganza on video to produce a documentary for this historical event that we believe will be seen for centuries to come. Milton’s centennial birthday will not come again for another 100 years. Be part of it! If you attend the gala, you will probably be in this video!


“The exhibit and programs promise to be a diverse collection of multiple perspectives and strategies that should engage the audience you hope to reach.”

From a letter to Terrance Lindall from Wendy Woon, the Edward John Noble Foundation Deputy Director for Education of the Museum of Modern Art, New York

John Milton was born in 1608. In 1667, the world received from him the book that would influence English thought and language nearly as much as the King James Version of the bible and the plays of Shakespeare. Let us then celebrate both the birth of John Milton who used the English language for supreme art, as well as celebrate the evolving English language itself throughout the world, which has become the world’s foremost international language. As a young man, John Milton wrote a friend: “Do you ask what I am meditating? By the help of Heaven, an immortality of fame.” Not many can actually achieve such a goal, but Milton did. Next to William Shakespeare, he is regarded by many as the greatest English poet and the author of the language’s finest epic poem, Paradise Lost. While Milton wrote Paradise Lost, he was blind, embittered by his heroic political/religious battles, and hampered by insufficient finances. Few images in the history of literature are more poignant that of the blind Puritan dictating day after day his great epic, Paradise Lost, the theme of which is announced in the opening lines:

Of man’s disobedience, and the fruit Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste Brought death into the world, and all our woe, With loss of Eden.

He rose at four or five each morning, listened to a chapter from the Hebrew Bible, ate breakfast, and then wrote until noon. After an hour walk and another hour playing the organ or viola, he worked until night. Then he would have a supper of “olives or some light thing,” a pipe, and a glass of water.