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

R. Allen Shoaf rashoaf at clas.ufl.edu
Mon Nov 14 07:39:49 EST 2005


At the risk, I know, of seeming to practice self-promotion, I thought nonetheless 
some might find it useful if I mention that I analyze the anagrams -e-v-i-l- / 
-l-i-v-e- / -v-e-i-l- at some length in MILTON, POET OF DUALITY (pp. 36-38). In the 
1993 re-issue of the book, I work extensively as well with "deceived"/"dis-Eve'd," 
having first discussed the pun in 1987 at a CEMERS conference. I discovered the pun 
independently of Neil Forsyth, whose work I greatly admire and recommend to my 
students every time I teach Milton (about once every three years -- I am not, 
strictly speaking, a "professional Miltonist"). I am currently at work on a number 
of related /littera/-l devices and strategies in PARADISE REGAINED, seeking to argue 
that such devices are expressions of the poem's theodicy. I always use Ricks with 
caution: a brilliant reader of poetry, prodigiously informed, but very much his own 
reader of poetry.

Al


R. Allen Shoaf, Alumni Professor of English 1990-93
Fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities 1982-1983 & 1999-2000
University of Florida, P.O. Box 117310, Gainesville, FL 32611-7310
Co-founding Editor, EXEMPLARIA, ras at ufl.edu
http://www.clas.ufl.edu/english/exemplaria
http://www.clas.ufl.edu/~rashoaf/
FAX 352.374-2473; VOICE 352.371-7149 (Home); 352.392-6650 x 264 (Office);
352.317-0247 (Cell)
725 NE 6th Street, Gainesville, FL 32601-5567


John Geraghty wrote:

> 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
>  
> 2332
> Chavva
> causatively from 'chavah' (2331); life-giver; Chavvah (or Eve), the 
> first woman:--Eve
>  
> 2421
> chayah
> 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.
> http://www.sacrednamebible.com/kjvstrongs/STRHEB23.htm
>  
> 
> 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…  
> http://oldpoetry.com/poetry/5889
> 
>  
> 
> 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.
> 
> http://www.goldbergweb.com/en/magazine/composers/1998/03/71_print.php 
> <http://www.goldbergweb.com/en/magazine/composers/1998/03/71_printphp>
> 
>  
> 
> 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."
> 
> http://www.csmonitor.com/atcsmonitor/specials/women/lit/lit122399.html 
> <http://www.csmonitor.com/atcsmonitor/specials/women/lit/lit122399html>
> 
> Also ref: http://www.clas.ufl.edu/users/rashoaf/duality/front/pref.htm
> 
> -John
> 
>  
> 
> 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 <mailto:Roy at gwm.sc.edu>>
> To: <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu <mailto: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 <mailto: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 <mailto: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
>  > South Korea
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