[Milton-L] The War in Heaven

jfleming at sfu.ca jfleming at sfu.ca
Mon Jul 10 10:18:43 EDT 2006


With respect. The rhetoric of degree seems rather inconsistent with:

Number to this day's work is not ordain'd
Nor multitude (6.809-810)

as well as with the preceding ramp-up of inter-angelic violence, which leads
only to the absurdity of hills encountering hills. The rhetoric of
technology, meanwhile, seems entirely inconsistent with its construction in
the cannon episode (and, I wd argue, throughout the poem) as
quintessentially Satanic (see 6.469-607). 

True, the Son rides the "Chariot of Paternal Deity" (6.750), which is a
pretty good piece of kit. I take it, however, that the concept of technology
entails a concept of progress ("more advanced"), which entails, in turn, a
trope of invention. Thus Satan: "Not uninvented that" (6.470), etc. The
Son's chariot, like Michael's sword, is no new invention -- we get no
chariot-design scene. It is simply and suddenly presented as an intelligible
item of the martial narrative that we have already been called upon to
accept. Moreover, its main function in driving the rebels from heaven is to
stand for and multiply the Son's gaze (6.845-852). This, to be sure, is
power. But it is unique, unimprovable, and unattainable. Therefore,
un-technological. 

JD Fleming

On Mon, 10 Jul 2006 09:59:34 -0500 milton-l at lists.richmond.edu wrote:
> Michael Gillum's questions are excellent ones.
> 
> The triumph of the Son in the war in heaven is a triumph of sheer 
> power.  More advanced technology; bigger weapon.
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James Dougal Fleming, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of English,
Simon Fraser University,
(604) 291-4713
cell: 778-865-0926

Laissez parler les faits.


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