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2021年1月1日

1 January 2021
 
Happy New Year.
 
You notice that the above is a wish, rather than a fact because there is little for us to be happy about at this point. Nonetheless, despite the coronavirus attack and power struggles in different countries and regions, deaths and injured and so forth, we did spend more time with family members, we did perfect our cooking skills, we did help each other to the best we can, and we did have fewer common flu cases for all the masks we wear.  Indeed, we wish the happy New Year will come, to the best we can. This year marked my own celebration, that I wrote my first thesis titled Images of Kingship in Paradise Lost: Inheritance versus Meritocracy 30 years ago. I don’t want to be preachy, neither being religious nor didactic, but a little background information on the craziness that shaped what I am doing to you.  Now I get your attention? 
 
John Milton (1608-1674) was half a century younger than William Shakespeare; it was said that Milton was already completely blind when he wrote Paradise Lost, whose first edition appeared in 1667, an epic poem in 12 books on the passages on the Fall of Adam and Eve which covers only a few pages in the Bible. Many considered this piece of literature a commentary on the political situation of the then British Isles. My supervisor, an Oxon scholar, advised me to use the Marxist criticism / approach to be the framework of my piece: I examined if leadership should be granted through inheritance or by popular votes. He mused that if one-third of the angels followed Lucifer, the light-bearer, something must be wrong with the administration. I was also given The Prince (Machiavelli, 1532) to understand what Milton must be thinking when he was composing the epic.
 
Long story short:  I was glad that I graduated without deferment.  What was I thinking? A second language speaker attempted to analyze a Renaissance epic poem.  The good thing came out of it, other than I could brag about it now, is my own reflection on how to treat people around me, who definitely have free will and opinions different to mine. I hope I have learned to listen, explain, accommodate, and do the best I can in the past 30 years, as opposed to the silent administration in the poem.
 
If a blind man could write a masterpiece, shouldn’t we all have some small resolution for improvement in the New Year?
 
Anson Yang