Friday, May 15, 2009

Robert Wickenheiser on Terrance Lindall's Paradise Lost Illustrated

A Dungeon Horrible
Terrance Lindall

Because the artist and curator Terrance Lindall some time ago made me a member of the Paradise Lost Committee -- which is a very fine honor, for I don't have to attend meetings or do much of anything -- I suppose that I ought occasionally to alert my varied readership to events, developments, and various things related to Lindall and Paradise Lost.

The above image of Satan first awakening in Hell comes from Lindall's series illustrating scenes from Milton's Paradise Lost, which I've selected from among eight plates that anyone interested can view online at the WAH Gallery featuring Lindall's Miltonic works (though plate number 4, of Pandemonium, seems to be missing). The site also has a link to the Terrance Lindall Retrospective, an event from the year 2000 (how time flies!), where one is reminded that Lindall originally presented much of his surrealist-style, Bosch-influenced art in such 'underground' magazines as Creepy, Eerie, Vampirella, and Heavy Metal, among others. I recall seeing his work in my late teenage years, back when I wouldn't even have known who Hieronymous Bosch was! Apparently, the images from Lindall's Paradise Lost Illustrated book also appeared in Heavy Metal Magazine, though I didn't see those. I presume that this series first appeared in the magazine and later in Lindall's book, but I don't know for a fact.

Now all of that dates from the 70s and 80s, as a retrospective in 2000 would perhaps lead one to suspect, but Lindall's illustrations are gaining a new viewership among some young people these days, which suggests that his artwork might help to generate interest among young college students (or even high school students?) for reading Milton's Paradise Lost. The scholar Robert Wickenheiser, who has assembled an outstanding collection of books by and about John Milton housed in the University of South Carolina's University Library, has expressed his intention to create a special "Lindall Area" in his collection because the students (and also the faculy, it seems) find Lindall's art very accessible and appealing, as Wickenheiser tells us in a letter that Lindall has shared with members of the Paradise Lost Committee:
[W]e will have to have the "Lindall Area," featuring the great original gifts you have given me together with the things I have managed to purchase . . . . I had look[ed] forward to using your "Paradise Lost Illustrated" in writing my essays; the original copy I bought being with my Milton collection at the University of South Carolina. I would have that copy sent to me for my use now, but as I reported to you some time ago, your illustrations won hands down among students who were asked to review the illustrated Milton exhibition, and thus your book and illustrations have achieved a stature that would never allow the book to be sent to me without some kind of commotion occurring among students and faculty. On that particular note, I would love to have you spend some time on the campus (at their invitation), meeting with students and perhaps also lecturing on your "Adventure into Paradise Lost" through imagery and painting. I would be there for that!
Lindall, who has done doctoral work in philosophy, takes not only an intensely artistic interest in Milton's epic poem but a keen intellectual interest as well, which is partly why his illustrations appeal to both students and scholars. The artistic and intellectual aspects are what interested me and why I initially posted blog entries about Lindall even before I knew him personally, and I was honored when he noticed my blog a couple of years ago and invited me to serve on the Paradise Lost Committee. Occasionally, blogging has its aesthetic-related pleasures -- as with the recent comment posted by the Chinese artist Liao Yibai to my entry on his "Top Secret Hamburger"!

For those readers interested in Lindall's art, activities, and lectures, You Tube has much to offer.

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