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

carl bellinger bcarlb at comcast.net
Wed Nov 23 21:19:58 EST 2005


   But how seriously does anybody take Milton's claim that he receives dictation from a Muse?
 
   The invocations themselves, of course, can't be from a Muse.

   And the paragraph titled "The Verse" seems to announce that Milton, not some heavenly Muse, is following various notable literary models to recover, to English, a genuinely musical prosody. Which is to say, Milton composes every single line, crafts every enjambment, and counts every syllable. Correct?
 
    If the Muse does dictate parts of the poem, there is no doubt (is there?) that her dictation must begin at line 34 of Book One, just after Milton demands, "Say first...Say first... who first seduced them to that foul revolt?" But if this is precisely where the dictation begins, our required next question becomes, I think, "at precisely what line, in what Book, does Milton first step back into center stage to interrupt her response?

   And speaking of the naked or the nude, it's our own dear Milton isn't it [?] who provides such wonderful momentary suspensions of the narrative as the 15 syllables I've put here in square brackets: 

             . . . .  into thir inmost bowre
Handed they went; and [eas'd the putting off
These troublesom disguises which wee wear,]    4.740
Strait side by side were laid

-Carl
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Peter C. Herman 
  To: John Milton Discussion List 
  Sent: Wednesday, November 23, 2005 12:18 PM
  Subject: Re: [Milton-L] 'nude, not naked' -- really?


  Remember, though, that Milton disclaims responsibility for the narration of PL, ascribing it all to the muse, Urania: "higher argument / Remaines, sufficient of it self to raise / That name, unless an age too late, or cold / Climat, or Years damp my intended wing / Deprest and much they may, if all be mine, / Not Hers who brings it nightly to my Ear" (9.42-47).

  According to the fiction of PL, the narrator's voice is not human, and therefore not subject to our (fallen) limits (which of course doesn't stop her from getting it wrong every so often, but that's a different story, I suppose).

  Peter C. Herman

  At 08:51 AM 11/23/2005, you wrote:

    All:

    I have tentatively been thinking about the narrator's voice as human--i.e.,
    fallen, who repeatedly bumps up against his/her limits.  "Undetermined
    square or round."  Lots of Fish's examples.  "Process of speech" for human
    ears.  Etc.  Which got me to wondering if sex in book 4 isn't another place.
    Can we think that a fallen voice can present "unfallen" sex to other fallen
    persons?  I got to that question before this string developed.

    Whatever, I am struck by the negative language in the passage.  Bad
    hypocrits, bad harlots, and the last line--"And know to know no more."
    Among other matters, how is "know" used here?

    Hence I salute the opening of flemminng's message.

    Boyd Berry
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: <jfleming at sfu.ca>
    To: <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
    Sent: Wednesday, November 23, 2005 12:05 AM
    Subject: Re: [Milton-L] 'nude, not naked' -- really?


    > It seems to me that the concept of "innocent sexuality" -- with its
    > presumption that "innocent" can or needs to attach to "sexuality" -- is
    > precisely fallen. Thus the point of prefallen sex in _PL_ is not that it
    is
    > innocent or not, but that the innocent/not-innocent binary does not apply.
    > Thus "sweet reluctant amorous delay" (4.311); naked breasts meeting
    > half-hidden (4.492-497); the sun mounted in nature's womb (5.300-302);
    Adam
    > licked dry by the same sun, relieved of the "balmy sweat" that so
    horrifies
    > Geoffrey Hartmann (8.253-256)-- and that wd have horrified him even more
    if
    > he had remembered, via Marvell's "morning glue," the period homology with
    > both dew and semen; thus the identity, rather than the distinction, of
    > "Seized" (4.489) and "seized" (9.1037). The briefest and completest way to
    > think about this matter, accordingly, is that it is perfectly innocent not
    > to be innocent in Milton's paradise. Thinking it through in terms of the
    > fallen analogues, pornography is (arguably) a truer index than
    > anti-pornography to what unfallen sex, in M's vision, is and possesses.
    > Arguably. JD Fleming
    >
    > On Tue, 22 Nov 2005 21:37:57 -0500 milton-l at lists.richmond.edu wrote:
    > > Somewhere, somebody is innocent.  I was, once.  There's a photograph
    > > of me as Cupid, at the age of about two, fully frontal nude, and I was
    > > of course completely unaware that I was funny, or a boy, or a subject
    > > for pedophilia.  I would still like to believe that there are innocent
    > > people and that there is innocent love.
    > >
    > > It is true that I have not seen innocence or innocent sexuality shown
    > > well in movies.  Some movies that I think have been successful in
    > > showing innocence or innocent love in one form or another have been
    > > Dear John (Swedish, 1964) and Babette's Feast (1987).  Since Elvira
    > > Madigan is a story of adultery, it doesn't qualify, even if Mozart's
    > > piano concerto seems innocent.  For innocent nudity, see Manon the
    Spring.
    > >
    > > I had a discussion about whether Paradise Lost could be staged, with
    > > the wonderful stage director Jonathan Miller, and, though he is
    > > certainly not prudish, the issue of presenting nudity without shame or
    > > heat puzzled him to the point where he did not pursue the project.
    > > There is a movie, not at all good, by Mike Figgis, called The Loss of
    > > Sexual Innocence (1999); it depicts Adam and Eve as black man and
    > > white woman arising out of water, but they look mildly embarrassed,
    > > examining each other as if playing Doctor.  There is a bower and a
    > > snake, and a sex scene after the Fall, but none of it is very
    convincing.
    > >
    > > Roy Flannagan
    > >
    > > >>> rastrier at uchicago.edu 11/22/05 12:21 PM >>>
    > > Yes, we are lewd viewers.  That's what being fallen means.  In
    > > concept, we can distinguish before and after, but not in experience.
    > > Watching unfallen sex would be just as hot, if not hotter, than
    > > watching unfallen sex.  As would watching a nude picnic.  We would be
    > > kidding ourselves not to acknowledge this, and failing to take into
    > > account what being fallen means-- that's the "something."  Who are we
    > > kidding about "innocent nudity"?  In idea, yes.  In reality, no.
    > > Roger Scruton recently tried to argue that great art can't really be
    > > erotic.  What nonsense.
    > >
    > > The Graves poem seems quite complex and tricky to me.  To think that
    > > it "resolves" the issue seems to me a bad reading of that nice
    > > (though very minor and not very serious) poem.
    > > _______________________________________________
    > > Milton-L mailing list
    > > Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu
    > > Manage your list membership and access list archives at
    > > http://lists.richmond.edu/mailman/listinfo/milton-l
    > >
    > >
    > > _______________________________________________
    > > Milton-L mailing list
    > > Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu
    > > Manage your list membership and access list archives at
    > > http://lists.richmond.edu/mailman/listinfo/milton-l
    > >
    >
    >
    > James Dougal Fleming, Ph.D.
    > Assistant Professor of English,
    > Simon Fraser University,
    > (604) 291-4713
    >
    > Laissez parler les faits.
    > _______________________________________________
    > Milton-L mailing list
    > Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu
    > Manage your list membership and access list archives at
    http://lists.richmond.edu/mailman/listinfo/milton-l
    >

    _______________________________________________
    Milton-L mailing list
    Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu
    Manage your list membership and access list archives at http://lists.richmond.edu/mailman/listinfo/milton-l


------------------------------------------------------------------------------


  _______________________________________________
  Milton-L mailing list
  Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu
  Manage your list membership and access list archives at http://lists.richmond.edu/mailman/listinfo/milton-l
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.richmond.edu/pipermail/milton-l/attachments/20051123/e07818bc/attachment-0001.htm


More information about the Milton-L mailing list