[Milton-L] re: PL and genre

BlevinsJake at aol.com BlevinsJake at aol.com
Mon Sep 6 13:22:41 EDT 2004

I agree with Peter Herman's caution below.  Subverting generic  conventions 
is common; the more fruitful--and inevitable--discussion is born  from "why 
does writer x undermine particular conventions? why not others? to  what purpose? 
etc.  In other words, everyone undermines genre conventions,  but everyone 
does it differently. I think what I find interesting with your  particular 
project is the fact that Milton might keep structural forms intact  (many--though 
certainly not all--writers alter the form along with the  content, i.e. 
Shakespeare, Spenser, etc.).  Again, deciding what that might  accomplish in Milton 
or determining why it is necessary (or not) should bring  you amidst all the 
other circulating issues around Milton:  theology,  politics, etc.
In a message dated 9/6/2004 10:52:06 AM Central Daylight Time,  
herman2 at mail.sdsu.edu writes:

One  point to bear in mind is that transgression of established genre 
conventions  is that treating genre in this way is a hallmark of most of the early 
modern  literature we consider canonical. See, for example, what Shakespeare 
does to  comedy in Loves Labors Lost and Measure for Measure, or what he  does to 
tragedy at the end of King Lear, especially the folio edition,  or what 
Spenser does to epic conventions in The Faerie Queene,  particularly in Book VI, 
and what Donne and Shakespeare both do to Petrarchan  lyric conventions in their 
verse. It would seem that genre conventions in this  period are like bowling 
pins, set up only to be knocked down.  

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