[Milton-L] "nude, not naked" -- really?

Angelica Duran aduran at cla.purdue.edu
Wed Nov 23 08:17:38 EST 2005

Dear scholars,

First of all, happy Thanksgiving to not just those of us in the US but also
all on the list, for whose electronic company I am very thankful.

Yes, I had prepared my students for the wonderfully-done nude scene in
Zimmerman's _Metamorphoses_.  I had also included images of Rodin's "The
Thinker" and "The Kiss" on my syllabus in preparation for discussions of the
permissible in high culture art versus popular culture.  I carefully thought
out the field trip and, as with when I included Ginsberg's curse-ridden
"Howl" for the "howling section" (opera, Mexican ranchero music," London's
"Call of the Wild," etc.) of my undergraduate "Literary Critters" course, I
do try to be bold but not too bold, like Britomart, because I want to
balance my aim of challenging students and captivating them to be life-long
appreciators of literature, and art, and beauty, and science, and culture,
and so on.


Angelica Duran
Assistant Professor
Department of English and Program of Comparative Literature
Purdue University
500 Oval Drive
West Lafayette, IN 47907
(765) 496-3957
<duran0 at cla.purdue.edu>

> From: <gilliaca at jmu.edu>
> Reply-To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> Date: Wed, 23 Nov 2005 08:52:13 -0500
> To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> Subject: Re: [Milton-L]  "nude, not naked" -- really?
>  my undergraduates' response to our class field trip last
> semester to
>> see a performance Zimmerman's play _Metamorphoses_, which
> includes one nude
>> scene, ranged from awe to humorously prurient ("why weren't
> any chicks
>> naked?!") to insulted.  If filming or staging nudity were
> easy and always
>> meaningful, it would be done frequently, and it isn't.
> True enough. Had your students been told to expect a nude
> scene?  My only experience with nudity on the stage way back
> in grad school when I saw a road company of "Hair" in
> Detroit - by then everyone knew there would be a nude scene -
> at the end of act one, I think [it HAS been a while!]. It was
> over almost before it started. I think I may have been the
> only member of the audience not stoned, too.
> I'm not surprised at the range of undergraduate responses. A
> colleague here had a young woman angrily drop her course in
> feminist lit because the student found "Lysistrada" [in quite
> a subdued translation] obscene. In a course in gay and
> lesbain lit that I teach, I once had a student find that the
> used copy of "Rubyfruit Jungle" she had bought had the
> word 'bastard' scratched out every time it was used. Since
> the protagonist is one, this was frequent, but 'bastard' is
> mild compared to other language in the novel. So I don't let
> undergraduates dictate my reading.
> C 
> Cynthia A. Gilliatt
> English Department, JMU
> JMU Safe Zones participant
> "You have made God in your own image when God hates the same people you hate."
> Fr. John Weston
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