A Timeless Beginning

“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same god who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.” – GALILEO GALILEI

If I am to enjoy an old book like Paradise Lost then I must make friends with the author and his characters. Otherwise it’s just a bunch of dusty old pages held together with a couple of pieces of cardboard. Personally, have to find ways to bring it to life.

Every book is written by a human who lived, worked, played and wrote in the context of his surroundings. Getting to know the landscape of his world brings his book to life. An old book only seems old when I forget the reality in which it is was created. The author drank coffee when he woke up and maybe he walked his dog before he sat down to write the story.

The author of Paradise Lost, John Milton was born in 1608 and died in 1674. During his lifetime America was beginning her heritage and Galileo was spending lots of time with his telescope. He survived The Thirty Years War and witnessed the publication of the first King James Bible.

Spend a few minutes with me as we read about the culture in which Paradise Lost was written. Your reading experience just might be more fun if you do.

To get to know a book the first thing I want to know is what did they eat? The center of any culture rests at the table. What kind of food did they eat? Were they hungry most of the time or so rich that food went to waist. What did they like? How did they prepare food. At the very end of this post you will find a fantastic link for recipes from the Middles Ages. But first let’s take a look at the kinds of things that were happening in the world of John Milton.

While John Milton’s mother was pregnant with him in 1607, Jamestown, Virginia established the first permanent English colony on America’s mainland. This video is interesting.

Also in 1607, Pocahontas story was being written.


The Relation, the first newspaper, debuts in Germany. I was intrigued by this article about The History of Newspapers.


Galileo sees the moons of Jupiter through his telescope.


King James Version of the Bible published in England.

The Thirty Years’ War, when the protestants revolt against catholic oppression began in 1618 and ended in 1648. The German population was about half of what it was in 1618 because of war and pestilence.


Pilgrims, after three-month voyage in Mayflower, land at Plymouth Rock. Francis Bacon’s Novum Organum.


Inquisition forces Galileo (astronomer) to recant his belief in Copernican theory.


Great Plague in London kills 75,000.


Great Fire of London.


Milton‘s Paradise Lost, widely considered the greatest epic poem in English.

As promised, here is a fantastic link if you’re looking for recipes from the Middle Ages. It is organized by country and by kind of food. Enjoy!

What about you? Have you read Paradise Lost? Do you have any insights for us? Maybe you had a Medieval feast when your group read it and you have some recipes to share with us. We love trying new things.

Want Help Starting Your Book Club? Read This Post.

Want Help Starting Your Book Club? Read This Post.

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