[Milton-L] Milton's use of sublime in Paradise Lost

Carrol Cox cbcox at ilstu.edu
Fri Nov 19 13:24:13 EST 2004

tuck at mail.utexas.edu wrote:
> [clip]
> To sum up, I think it's an exciting and timely subject matter, and well worth
> attempting to map out; but if you want to say that Milton was _using_ the
> sublime (and I think he was) you've got your work cut out for you.
> Sincerely,
> Matt

Matt's thumbnail account of the appearance of the sublime as a critical
category is a little miracle in itself.

My query is whether the phrase "using the sublime" is even coherent.
When we speak of "using X," X is usually a readily
identifiable/definable entity. The Sublime, even after the intense
scrutiny it received first in the 18th century, then in modern 18th-c
scholarship (not to speak of its handling by the romantics), hardly
seems like something one would pick up and use. Is this another way of
saying "Milton _achieves_ the sublime" or "PL is a sublime poem"? 


P.S. Personally, I've always found Pope's "Profund" a more useful
critical category than the Longinian sublime.

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