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

Salwa Khoddam skhoddam at cox.net
Wed Nov 23 10:38:53 EST 2005

Dear Miltonists,
James Rovira talks about the possibility of innocent love/sex right here in 
our world.  I don't doubt that a bit.  The ancients knew more about  love 
and suffering (and much else) than we.  You remember that Pleasure 
(Voluptas) is the daughter of Psyche (the soul) and Cupid (Eros) in Greek 
mythology.  This  best example of love to the ancient Greeks was the one 
that included the two kinds of love, the sacred and the profane, in unison. 
Shakespeare also knows more about love than we (for example, Romeo and 
Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra, Rosalind and Orlando, all of whom integrate in 
their love both the physical and the spiritual).  So does Milton. In our 
modern society we have chopped up everything into bits and so are not able 
to understand love in its wholeness. The more I read Milton, the more I see 
that the prelapsarian and the postlapsarian worlds are not that far apart. 
Yes, divided by sin and knowledge of evil, but still linked by a golden 
thread, like J. Donne's, strong but"to airy thinness beat."  For, as Milton 
says, the"upright heart and pure"(1.18)  filled with wisdom and trained by 
"Deeds to...knowledge answerable..faith /..virtue, patience, 
temperance...love / By name to come called Charity, the soul / Of all the 
rest" (XII.582-85) can possess "A paradise within...happier far"(587). (I 
apologize for mangling the most important lines of PL). But what a hopeful 
view.  It takes a lot of work to achieve this blissful state, but it is 
possible right here in our world.  Our undergraduates have a hard time 
understanding this.  Sometimes I wonder, with Professor Digory in The Lion, 
the Witch, and the Wardrobe (dare I mention  this work in the company of 
esteemed Milton scholars?), "I wonder what they do teach them at these 
On a cheerful note, one of my students gave an excellent presentation on 
Milton and his relevance to our times.  But then he is one of the fit and 
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone,
(Ms) Salwa Khoddam
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Angelica Duran" <aduran at cla.purdue.edu>
To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, November 23, 2005 8:17 AM
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] "nude, not naked" -- really?

> 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.
> Adios,
> Angelica Duran
> Assistant Professor
> Department of English and Program of Comparative Literature
> Purdue University
> 500 Oval Drive
> West Lafayette, IN 47907
> U.S.A.
> (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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