[Milton-L] [Fwd: Re: When and how did the canon die?]

Kirby J. Booker kirby_jo21 at yahoo.ca
Sat Nov 19 19:43:47 EST 2005


   
  I agree with regards to the Norton texts and I recall my high school engl lit teacher telling us much the same thing, although he did teach Books I, II and IX from the anthology as part of a survey, as you say. Some of us were eager to read the epic in full after, but just as many, I think, were relieved to move on. How then, can large canonical works be fairly treated in an anthology? Or should they be presented in full or not at all? 
  K.J.B. 
  
Carol Barton <cbartonphd at earthlink.net> wrote: 
          Nonetheless: if the reference is to the Norton anthologies, the attrition described is very close to true: the "books get bigger and bigger [containing "new" writers more and more obscure] and Dryden and Milton fade into the subchapters and indexes," silenced, one supposes, by the demon Diversity. What's included is an embarrassment; better it were, were nothing included at all. (The rendering of _Paradise Lost_, for example, is so minimal as to be a mockery for any student beyond the just-out-of-high-school level. No serious Miltonist would use the "selections" to teach--unless one intended only to cover a single "representative" book in a survey course.) Even then, I wouldn't use it: Milton, like Chaucer, is an acquired taste, developed after exposure sufficient to "normalize" his long periods and sometimes convoluted syntax. You don't breed familiarity, teaching books I or IX . . . all you do is foster contempt.
   
  Best to all,
   
  Carol Barton 


		
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