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Submitted Literature

The Pacifying Milton

By Greg Bauder


Greg Bauder is the author of numerous publications including books and newspaper articles and has published in literary magazines.  His first novel A Temptress Ariel is to be made into a feature film this year. 

The Pacifying Milton is an intricately worked and highly readable semi-autobiographical account of the development of schizoaffective disorder within the narrator.  The account is tightly woven into a tapestry of literary sources.  It draws thematically and structurally on works by Milton, T.S Eliot and Shakespeare and others utilising a wide range of literary allusions in order to contextualise and demonstrate the narrator's relationship between schizoaffective disorder and the arts. 

The short play within the novella is particularly interesting. It utilises rhyming couplets to describe a conversation between the narrator Glen, an anonymous Voice and relatives.  The play brings together the themes of religion, power and the familial by drawing on a semi-autobiographical conceptualisation of the self through the appreciation of literature and popular culture. 

This often beautiful and occasionally humorous novella is highly artistically achieved. As the novella progresses the tone becomes more reflective and somber.  This progression from the poetic to a more prosaic style is integral and deeply relevant to the stabilisation of the narrator and the formation of the narrative. However one small criticism would be that the essay style towards the end occasionally loses the momentum and intricacy of the earlier body of the text.

The novella is highly enjoyable and will be of great interest to anyone with an interest in schizoaffective disorder, the literary representation of mental illness or the relationship between religion/poetry/literature and self-understanding.

Key Themes:

  • Schizoaffective Disorder

Significant Quotes / Pages

'I held a mountain of feelings inside but I no longer gave a hill of beans'.

'I could not be around people and like a poor man's Hamlet I wanted 'to shuffle off my mortal coil'. I was becoming increasingly irritable at certain times and getting high on the Arts at other times. I even had the Haldol Shuffle'.

'The sea shone as I gulped my vision into my eyes. The gods were my parents, John Milton and Margaret Atwood! And I was freaking out and dying beneath my two sun eyes! But they dragged me back to Earth, the place where Father's intellectual mastery of epic poetry, mythology and astrology and Mother's feminist, modern Survivor tales, united - pacifying my baby mind'.

Reference: Greg, Bauder. 2010. The Pacifying Milton. Publish America, 2011


Miss Lindsey Morgan
Date Review Submitted: Sunday 19th June 2011