The Nightingale
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I'm starting an English degree in a month's time at UCL. They sent me a reading list a while ago and I'm trying to get through a few of the books before I get there. Decided to start on Paradise Lost and so far a lot of it is going over my head. I understand what's happening in the story and reading it alongside an audio recording is certainly helping, but it's so dense that I'm struggling a tad! I'd say the only book that rivals it in terms of difficulty is Rushdie's Midnight's Children...

I'm worried that because I don't understand all the references I should be looking up each and every one...but I reckon if I did I'd still be reading it in a year's time!

Any advice in terms of reading such sense literature...should I just carry on when I reach parts that I don't fully understand or is that not advisable?
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pauly9090
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(Original post by The Nightingale)
Any advice in terms of reading such sense literature...should I just carry on when I reach parts that I don't fully understand or is that not advisable?
Just carry on, Paradise Lost is famous largely because it's ridiculously dense and inaccessible. When you take it apart and begin to study it in pieces it's incredibly intricate and arguably deserving of its reputation, but on a first reading with no analysis it makes absolutely no bloody sense haha!

Follow it through, get a grip on the plot so you at least know what is happening, and try to focus on style, structure, and imagery/themes. The heavy analytical and referencing stuff will come on the course (we spent like four weeks on it in my module, which is four times longer than any other text), but right now your best bet is to get on the style and structure, and the overall themes and ideas even if you're not sure on meaning.

Get a general sense of what Milton is trying to do and how he is presenting it, and worry about specific meaning when you actually get to the course. Your tutor will hopefully begin with a boatload of context and reading frameworks, which will work you through what the text is actually about.
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KeishaC
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Hi

Sorry this has nothing to do with what you wanted help with. I am also looking to do an English degree, it won't be until 2016. I was wondering if you could give me any advice with my personal statement. I literally don't know where to start, is there any tips you could give me for what I should include about English. I will be starting my work for A2's in September and I know they're harder than AS level so I was hoping you could help me.



P.S I tried to read Paradise Lost at the start of the summer and found it quite confusing until I discovered these websites:
http://www.paradiselost.org/5-sum-short.html
http://www.paradiselost.org/ <This one was extremely helpful.
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pauly9090
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(Original post by KeishaC)
Hi

Sorry this has nothing to do with what you wanted help with. I am also looking to do an English degree, it won't be until 2016. I was wondering if you could give me any advice with my personal statement. I literally don't know where to start, is there any tips you could give me for what I should include about English. I will be starting my work for A2's in September and I know they're harder than AS level so I was hoping you could help me.
Make sure you write about how passionate you are for English and literature, but don't go overboard with overly dramatic details and big speeches. Keep it honest and heartfelt, but succinct and not dramatic.

Try to be specific about what you like too, so if you really really like a book/author/period/movement/style etc, SAY SO! If it's clear that you're already very invested in the subject, and you're not just one of those people who are doing English without really knowing or caring about it, then the unis will want you more.

Don't be too wordy, but use a formal and sophisticated style of writing in your PS. If it looks like you pulled a thesaurus out and you're just trying to show off long words, then they won't be interested, but a mature and appropriate style of writing will really help you out. This is a 95% written course, after all.
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KeishaC
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(Original post by pauly9090)
Make sure you write about how passionate you are for English and literature, but don't go overboard with overly dramatic details and big speeches. Keep it honest and heartfelt, but succinct and not dramatic.

Try to be specific about what you like too, so if you really really like a book/author/period/movement/style etc, SAY SO! If it's clear that you're already very invested in the subject, and you're not just one of those people who are doing English without really knowing or caring about it, then the unis will want you more.

Don't be too wordy, but use a formal and sophisticated style of writing in your PS. If it looks like you pulled a thesaurus out and you're just trying to show off long words, then they won't be interested, but a mature and appropriate style of writing will really help you out. This is a 95% written course, after all.
Thank you so much! I literally didn't have a clue how to even start my PS so I really appreciate your help.
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antigone-
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Websites like sparknotes and shmoop are great! I recently read Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment and when it was a bit tricky, I looked at the chapter summaries on shmoop and it really helped me to understand! Don't carry on, look for help, otherwise you'll be missing things when you could have just looked it up and solved the problem in like a minute. I think UCL also do The Wasteland in the first year which is also really weird and hard to understand, but looking for help on places like that will help so much
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