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

Horace Jeffery Hodges jefferyhodges at yahoo.com
Mon Nov 21 20:18:27 EST 2005

Our voyeuristic eyes see as postlapsarian I's.

Jeffery Hodges

--- Harold Skulsky <hskulsky at email.smith.edu> wrote:

> Richard Strier writes that "what's really
> interesting to consider is that the movie version
> would be pornography; I think this is actually quite
> important." This is a touch cryptic, but (from where
> I sit anyhow) on the mark.
> I rarely get through a reading of PL 4.492-502 (to
> take one example), with its gratuitously teasing
> closeup at 495-97, without regretting the obvious
> discomfort of my otherwise worldly senior classes. I
> remind them that this is prelapsarian sexuality,
> pure as the driven snow. (Think of the naked figure
> in Titian's "Sacred and Profane Love.") I might as
> well not bother. For them it's unmistakably a
> decorative little riff of lubricious peek-a-boo. 
> But could the fallen eye be onto something? After
> all, stretching in all directions around the
> embracing pair is a physical universe that is
> charged with eros, as with other marvels of the
> body; the archangel in PL 8 lets us know that an
> erotic version of the ladder of love reaches up even
> to the heaven of angels (though the blushing
> description of their "unrestrain'd conveyance" is
> hardly the stuff of a scene in Aretino). 
> Asked for a constitutionally respectable definition
> of pornography, the Supreme spoke only too well when
> he answered, helplessly, "I know it when I see it";
> the pornographer Professor Strier has in mind, of
> course, is the film maker, not Milton--the film
> maker who can't avoid this kind of trivialization
> even if he would: there are no prelapsarian movie
> cameras. 
> But maybe (as Professor Strier seems to be hinting)
> there's something in Milton's Eden that the
> voyeuristic eye singles out in spite of itself but
> is doomed to misrepresent, and that something is
> "actually quite important."
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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



Office Address:

Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
Department of English Language and Literature
Korea University
136-701 Anam-dong, Seongbuk-gu
South Korea

Home Address:

Dr. Sun-Ae Hwang and Dr. Horace Jeffery Hodges
Sehan Apt. 102-2302
Sinnae-dong 795
Seoul 131-770
South Korea

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