skhoddam at cox.net
Sat Jul 9 15:11:01 EDT 2005
Dear Milton scholars,
I do agree with the latest posting that the subject of terrorist attacks does not relate to Milton. Thus I am referring everyone interested to a professional view on the subject. Dr. Robert Pape, a political science professor at The University of Chicago, has written a book on this subject, carefully researched, and thus more credible than unprofessional viewpoints. Its title is Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorists.
----- Original Message -----
From: Francesca Gomes
To: 'John Milton Discussion List'
Sent: Friday, July 08, 2005 11:19 PM
Subject: RE: [Milton-L] London
While I admire Carol's moral fervor in both this and her other posts, I cannot agree with her sense of Milton as "a citizen of the world," "vehemently and vociferously" crying out "against evil and injustice wherever he saw it," because Milton only cried out against the evils and injustices committed against English Protestants. If you did not belong to Milton's preferred group, he was less concerned. As Mary C. Fenton shows in "Milton's View of Ireland: Reform, Reduction, and Nationalist Polity," Milton Studies 44 (2005), 203-29 (the volume also contains the articles by Stanley Fish, Joseph Wittreich, and Barbara Lewalski on "Why Milton Matters"), if you are Irish and Catholic, then you are beyond the pale, and your cause is not worthy of any consideration. By 1651, his views about the Irish "had congealed instead into succinct vituperation" (218). Remember also that Milton argued for pre-publication freedom for everyone other than Catholics.
But wouldn't that support all three parts of the previous statement (Milton as "a citizen of the world," "vehemently and vociferously" crying out "against evil and injustice wherever he saw it")? He was concerned with international injustice (i.e. the slaughter of the Waldensians), he was vehement about it, and one can still make the case that he cried out against evil where he saw it. Milton was extremely anti-Catholic in a reactionary way, precisely because he saw the Catholic Church, specifically, as being evil itself. The fact that his lack of sympathy for the Catholic people makes him seem less than heroic (in this instance) aside, his sympathy was not limited to one group.
In addition, "pre-publication freedom for everyone other than Catholics" is not the same as "pre-publication freedom only for English Protestants and no one else."
On the other hand, I do not think that Milton would have advocated human/earthly vengeance. I think Sonnet XVIII makes it pretty clear that he saw that as exclusively God's province.
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