[Milton-L] death in Eden.

Kemmer Anderson kanderso at mccallie.org
Tue Nov 16 10:43:47 EST 2004


Douglas, My instant response is the St. Luke's altar at Grace Church in 
Chattanooga. On Wednesday, I stare at the 4 images of the Evangelists 
inscribed on the altar. I wonder if Milton is setting up visual images in 
the narrative - something greater than symbol. The idea of sacrifice and 
foreshadowing that others hear opens up interpretations that are sound, 
sound as a blind poet might see them. I have Frye's Milton's Imagery and 
the Visual Arts in my lap as I write this response Is there an iconographic 
altar at Christ College or in Italy that Milton remembers as the animals 
may appear as emblems as well as creature characters in Paradise?
The whole idea of death juxtaposed against the concrete poetic images makes 
for a great tension. If you eat, you will die. But then how do you know 
what Death is? There are no definitions yet or examples.
Zap! There is the bell. Off to class.
  You have a wonderful feast to prepare and serve as a writer. Have fun. 
Kemmer Anderson


At 05:39 PM 11/15/2004, you wrote:
>I am a graduate student taking a Milton seminar.  Soon I must have a working
>thesis statement to present to the class.  I could use some guidance in a
>couple of areas.  I want to explore death in Eden.
>I am working with four images, three subtle and one blatant.  The three 
>subtle
>images involve Satan:  "As when a prowling Wolf, / Whom hunger drives to seek
>new haunt for prey" (IV 183,184).  "Sat like a Cormorant" (IV 196).  A
>Cormorant eats dead things.  "A Lion now he stalks with fiery glare, / 
>Then as
>a Tiger, who by chance hat spi'd / In some Purlieu two gentle Fawns at 
>play, /
>Straight couches close, then rising changes oft / His couchant watch, as one
>who chose his ground / Whence rushing he might surest seize them both / Gript
>in each paw" (IV 402-408).  Satan wants to kill the deer but gets 
>distracted by
>Adam and Eve.
>The blatant image is also from book four.  A lion has a kid in its
>paws.  "Sporting the Lion ramp'd, and in his paw / Dandl'd the Kid" 
>(343,344).
>I checked the OED for definitions of the words out my (our) present usage and
>it does indeed sound like the lion has killed a kid.
>The problems that I am having are that I can't find scholarship on death in
>Eden.  I know there is a debate of something like; did nature fall before 
>man?
>Yet I can't find scholarship on the fall of nature.  Since Milton does have
>some images of death in Eden I would like to explore possibly what that says
>about the fall of nature.  Is death allowed in Eden for nature, without 
>nature
>falling?  If that is the case then Milton sets Adam and Eve clearly apart 
>from
>nature.  Nature has death, yet Adam and Eve do not.  Plus the lions, 
>tigers and
>bears (oh my), don't think of Adam and Eve as food.
>I am sure that I am not blazing a new trail.  There must be some articles at
>least somewhat related to this idea.  But I am so frustrated with not being
>able to find articles I'm thinking of scraping the idea.  Is a paper on this
>idea feasible?  If so, are there some essays that I should read?
>I appreciate any and all guidance.
>Douglass Bourne
>Graduate Assistant
>Western Illinois University
>
>
>
>
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