[Milton-L] O Eve, in evil hour...

John Geraghty johnegeraghty at hotmail.com
Sun Nov 13 21:24:29 EST 2005

Perhaps another angle to explore that I have not seen mentioned in this context is a palindromic connection between  live and evil.  Eve (livE) created by God as the antidote for Evil (and, obviously, Eve being a palindrome as well).  

Strongs lists 

causatively from 'chavah' (2331); life-giver; Chavvah (or Eve), the first woman:--Eve

khaw-yaw'a primitive root (compare 'chavah' (2331), 'chayah' (2421)); to live, whether literally or figuratively; causatively, to revive:--keep (leave, make) alive, X certainly, give (promise) life, (let, suffer to) live, nourish up, preserve (alive), quicken, recover, repair, restore (to life), revive, (X God) save (alive, life, lives), X surely, be whole.

There is also precedent in this to explore as in poems such as the following excerpt playing on Ave \Eva : 

Ca Eva nos tolleu 
Parays'e Deus 
Ave nos y meteu; 
porend', amigos meus: 
Entre Av'e Eva.   

And a more postive exploration by Hildegard von Bingen (you can easily google for specific examples in her works):

the images and allegories used to refer to the Mary are among the richest and most varied of her work, in accordance with the importance the feminine element played. For example, the Virgin is seen as the redeemer of Eve's original sin (Ave/Eva), or as the flowered branch of the tree of Jesse (wordplay Virgo=Virgin/Virga=Branch), or as the dawn above which Jesus' sun rises. 


And a review of "EVE: A BIOGRAPHY" By Pamela Norris

She ends Eve's biography by showing that, although few and far between, there is a scattering of women's accounts throughout history that tell Eve's side of the story. One of the earliest such accounts is that of Abbess Hildegard von Bingen, a religious scholar during the 11th century. Hildegard viewed Eve's character, including her sexuality, as much more symbolic of the divine nature than Adam's, and as Norris puts it "offered women dignity and hope."


Also ref: http://www.clas.ufl.edu/users/rashoaf/duality/front/pref.htm


His soL returned the same way it went owt.

To Miltons BRAIN the icy fluid from his broad cold palm

B  ut Milton entering my FOOT I saw in the nether 
R  egions of the Imagination; also all men on Earth, 
A  nd all in Heaven, saw in the nether regions of the Imagination 
In Ulro beneath Beulah, the vast breach of Miltons descent.

F our Universes round the Mundane Egg remain Chaotic 
O ne to the North. named Urthona; One to the South. named Urizen; 
O ne to the East, named Luvah: One to the West, named Tharmas
T hey are the Four Zoa's that stood around the Throne Divine! 

For that portion namd the Elect: the Spectrous body of Milton: 
Redounding from my left FOOT into Los's Mundane space, 

T errific! and each mortal brain is walld and moated round 
W ithin: and Og and Anak watch here; here is the Seat 
O f Satan in its Webs; for in brain and heart and loins 
G ates open behind Satans Seat to the City of Golgonooza 

Descending down into my Garden, a Human Wonder of GOD 

 And Milton collecting all his fibres into impregnable strength 
D escended down a Paved work of all kinds of precious stones 
O ut from the eastern sky; descending down into my Cottage 
G arden: clothed in black. severe & silent he descended. 

The TOAD and venomous Newt; the Serpent clothed in gems and gold:

D eath Couch, in the caverns of death, in the corner of the Atlantic. 
A nd in the midst of the Great Assembly Palamabron pray'd: 
O God protect me from my friends, that they have not power over me 
T hou hast giv'n me power to protect myself from my bitterest enemies

D olorous that ran thro all Creation a Double Six-fold Wonder: 
A way from Ololon she divided and fled into the depths 
O f Miltons Shadow as a Dove upon the stormy Sea. 
T hen as a Moony Ark Ololon descended to Felphams Vale

 ----- Original Message ----- 

From: "Roy Flannagan" <Roy at gwm.sc.edu>
To: <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
Sent: Saturday, November 12, 2005 5:35 AM
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] O Eve, in evil hour...

> One thing certain about puns is that their secondary meaning can't be established with certainty unless the context establishes it.  I am uncomfortable with Ricks's reading because I can't believe that Milton would ever foist off on his reader the false etymology that "evil" is derived from "Eve."  Certainly Milton draws attention to the fact that when Eve ate she made her own evil hour, but nothing in Paradise Lost indicates that evil derives primarily from Eve, as in the "crooked rib" of monkish thinking.  Adam may be giving in to Satanic thinking when he associates Eve with evil.
> It is very difficult for an editor even to try to establish the connections in a pun between what it says directly and with what other word it may lead us to.  Ricks may be wrong, unless Adam is speaking Satanically, but is Neil Forsyth wrong to play with Adam's being "dis-Eved" when Eve has eaten and he hasn't (perhaps he is, because Adam falls "not deceiv'd").  And what about the meaning of "fruit" or "mortal" in "the Fruit . . . whose mortal tast": does "fruit" mean "outcome," and does "mortal" mean "inducing mortality" or "poisonous"?  Certainly Eve is "ill" after she falls, but is her illness contained in the word "evil"?  I can't be sure.
> My point is that we can speculate on the meaning of puns as long as we like, and they do add richness and something like musical overtones to Milton's language, but that their ultimate meaning cannot be established.  I do know that Satanic language is characterized by its bad puns.
> Roy Flannagan    
>>>> jefferyhodges at yahoo.com 11/11/05 10:23 PM >>>
> Christopher Ricks cites Paradise Lost 9.1067, "O Eve,
> in evil hour...", and notes that Adam puns here on
> "Eve" and "evil" to "proclaim ... that the word evil
> is derived from Eve, and that evil derives from her"
> (Ricks, Milton's Grand Style (Oxford University Press,
> 1963) p. 103).
> My question is this: Has anyone noted the possibility
> of a double pun here?
> "evil" = "Eve ill"?
> Milton has used the term "ill" to mean "evil" just
> twelve lines earlier, in 9.1055.
> What's fascinating about this is the vicious
> regression that results when one then reads "ill" as
> "evil":
> "evil" = "Eve ill" -->"Eve evil" = "Eve Eve ill" -->
> "Eve Eve evil" = "Eve Eve Eve ill" --> "Eve Eve Eve
> evil" ...
> The infinite regression of evil would fit with
> Milton's portrayal of Satan, for example, as
> ungrounded in his evil: 
> 4.75-78
> Which way I fly is hell; myself am hell;
> And in the lowest deep a lower deep,
> Still threat'ning to devour me, opens wide,
> To which the hell I suffer seems a heaven.
> What do all of you think -- was this really what
> Milton intended in 9.1067, namely, a double pun
> resulting in an infinite regression of evil to reflect
> its utter groundlessness?
> Jeffery Hodges
> University Degrees:
> Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley
> (Doctoral Thesis: "Food as Synecdoche in John's Gospel and Gnostic Texts")
> M.A., History of Science, U.C. Berkeley
> B.A., English Language and Literature, Baylor University
> Email Address:
> jefferyhodges at yahoo.com 
> Blog:
> http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/ 
> Office Address:
> Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
> Department of English Language and Literature
> Korea University
> 136-701 Anam-dong, Seongbuk-gu
> Seoul
> South Korea
> Home Address:
> Dr. Sun-Ae Hwang and Dr. Horace Jeffery Hodges
> Sehan Apt. 102-2302
> Sinnae-dong 795
> Jungrang-gu
> Seoul 131-770
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