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

Diane McColley dmccolley at earthlink.net
Fri Nov 25 13:35:18 EST 2005


But "fallen" isn't the only postlapsarian state.  Whatever one thinks 
about the authorship or collaboration of De Doctrina Christiana
I think this description of the regenerate state applies to Milton and 
his narrative voice:

 From  Christian Doctrine I, Chapter 8:

	    Regeneration is that change operated by the Word and the 	Spirit, 
whereby the old man being destroyed, the inward man    	is regenerated 
by God after his own image, in all the faculties 	of his mind, insomuch 
that he becomes as it were a new 	creature, and the whole man is 
sanctified both in body and 	soul, for the service of God, and the 
performance of good works.
		Is regenerated by God: namely, the Father, for no one 	generates, 
except the Father.  In all the faculties of his mind; that is to say,
	in understanding and will.  This renewal of the will can mean nothing,
	but a restoration to its former liberty.


On Nov 23, 2005, at 8:51 AM, berry 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.
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>>
>>
>> James Dougal Fleming, Ph.D.
>> Assistant Professor of English,
>> Simon Fraser University,
>> (604) 291-4713
>>
>> Laissez parler les faits.
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