Your RDA of Irony

Parody Lost

Apr 27, 1667:

John Milton sells the copyright to Paradise Lost

Poet John Milton sells the copyright to his masterpiece Paradise Lost (1667) for a mere 10 pounds.

Of course, Milton could have gotten a better deal.  If only he had listened to his agent Barry Spinoza….
     “You are lucky to get ten shillings.  The publisher is furious.  I should be, too.  You had a 500 Pound contract to write a tell-all, behind-the-scenes -potboiler about being the speechwriter for Oliver Cromwell.  What it was like to be a brilliant but frustrated assistant to a  Holier-than-Thou tyrant!.  Well, in a way, that is what you wrote–but you went a little heavy on the allegory.  I might have gotten you 30 Pounds if you had bothered to make anything rhyme.
   “But All is not lost– Didn’t you write that?  It makes a pretty good logo–What would you say to 50,000 Pounds and a lifetime of residuals?   I showed your manuscript to Nell Gwyn and she loves it.  A great vehicle for her–a three year run at the Drury Lane–minimum!  She just wants a few changes.  First, make the Devil a woman.  Come on; most of us already believe it.  And make the Devil daffy rather than evil.  You know, a pratfallen angel.   Yes, she continually creates chaos and destruction but it is all accidental; and God yells at her but always bails her out.
  “And how is this for a title:  I Love Luci”
  1. Michele says:

    The Morgan Library has digitized its copy of Paradise Lost, but I don’t see a thing about Barry. Agents1

    • Eugene Finerman says:


      With clients like John Milton, Barry Spinoza found it more lucrative being a philosopher. At least he could live on the food that people pelted at him.

      Thank you for the link. Ironically (what else) the Milton recitation is by Mark Rylance, who is among the Shakespeare deniers.


  2. Eugene Finerman says:

    I thought that I was joking….but one should never overestimate Hollywood.

  3. Hal Gordon says:

    Well, “Better to reign in hell…” as the saying goes.

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