“I consider Paradise Lost to be the greatest achievement in all of English language literature.” – Michael DeMarco
This week I had the wonderful opportunity to get to know a little more about the inspiring Michael DeMarco. Wearing many hats, Michael is an author and Lit-vlogger who wants to revolutionize the way young people experience classic literature. By day, he takes on the world’s wrongdoings, but after hours, he’s a superhero championing the finer persuasions in life (Literature, Music, Art!). His Youtube Vlog is a must-visit for any book lover (see links below) and his commentary on how classic literature can be applied to modern life is a unique take on the power and influence of great books. Michael isn’t just someone whose videos you’ll want to watch and whose book you’ll want to read, he’s someone you’ll want to get to know on a personal level. And now you can.
Read the interview below.
- Who are you? Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a civil litigation attorney with my own practice in greater Boston. As of now I will be accepting appointments from the state to represent children and parents when there has been a removal made by the Department of Children and Families.
2. You are an author. Tell us about your book.
My book is a work of historical fiction, in four parts, taking place in England, the Netherlands, Indonesia, and finally Puritan Massachusetts. A Dutch prisoner of war is freed by a precocious young girl in search of her long lost father. While she seems to have freed him out of mutual interest, she makes an obsession out of corrupting him, sabotages the love of his life, while catapulting him up the ranks of the Dutch East India Company.
3. What motivates you to write?
A love of language and a desire to create.
4. What is your writer’s Achilles Heel?
My weakness as a writer is that my taste is very classical, and so my style is more formal and dense than what is found on the shelves these days.
5. Your book, Redemption Lost, is about The Dutch Golden Age, and more specifically the East India Company. What is your personal connection to this historic period/the characters in your book?
I was an Economics major in college and in my senior year I took a seminar level history course on Puritan New England. I am from Massachusetts and the story of European settlement in America fascinates people who live here. Redemption Lost deals with the machinations of the “first modern economy” centered in Amsterdam, the distortions of bear market saboteurs, and that colonial, geographic arbitrage that the Dutch used to acquire high value commodities from Asiatic trade. The climax is in Essex County, Massachusetts, almost too predictably I suppose, ending in a witchcraft trial, the description of which allowed me to draw upon my experience as a trial lawyer.
6. What is your favorite thing to discuss with your readers?
I enjoy hearing their own original opinions that had not occurred to me, sympathies where I had not intended them, or a relation to one of the characters (it is always to Louisa, the main female character).
7. What is the most annoying question you get from your readers?
“Who is your target audience?”
8. What are some of the life-changing books you’ve read, and why?
This would be a long list:
John Milton’s Paradise Lost
Goethe’s Sorrows of Young Werther
Tasso’s Liberation of Jerusalem
I do not know that these books changed my life, but they evolved my thinking, each of them is full of little bits of wisdom for the reader to take away. Moliere in particular mocks everyone who takes things too seriously; arguing in every play, it seems, that to live well is the only true philosophy, and to try too hard to avoid calamity will bring it on you. Tasso is a series of allegorical delights. Plutarch is a tract pertaining to all life on earth. Goethe’s exploration of inner torment is so naked and confessional – and accurate — that it is difficult to wade through.
9. What is the one book you wish you had written, and why?
I hope I will write a comedy some day.
10. You host a Youtube Vlog about Literature. What prompted you to start Vlogging about books?
I’ve come to the determination that academics have ruined literature for young Americans. The purpose of my channel is to try to be entertaining; which is to say, I hope to extract the entertainment value from what is presumed to be dry material and show it to be comedic, meaningful, and even sexual.
11. What was the first book you Vlogged, and why?
I started with a series of podcasts on Paradise Lost because the core themes of that book were incorporated as homage in my own book. To put it simply, I consider Paradise Lost to be the greatest achievement in all of English language literature. It contemplates everything from domestic happiness, to his own theology, to his grapple with the correct relations within a free state. By the time I was done with the vlog, I realized I enjoyed the process. It is very clarifying to sit down and map out what I want to say.
12. What is your greatest passion?
I genuinely enjoy the practice of law and trial work especially. Reading, opera, classical music, the visual arts.
13. Do you have other talents or hobbies?
I get out on the bike for exercise during the summer and I ski during the winter.
14. What are you currently reading?
Maria Callas: The Woman Behind the Legend by Arianna Stassinopoulos.
15. Are there any new projects in your future? What’s next for you?
A Maria Callas video, the rest of Dante’s Inferno, and I must make a vlog on Moliere and Goethe!
16. And the question that everyone gets asked: Recommend one Netflix series I should watch:
Follow Michael on Twitter @HanlaBooks or subscribe to his Youtube channel here!
If you are an author, book blogger or book reviewer and would like to be one of the New Kids on the Blog, contact me today!
Have a bookish weekend!