[Milton-L] swerving

Carrol Cox cbcox at ilstu.edu
Tue Sep 25 18:07:37 EDT 2007



James Rovira wrote:
> 
> If we're going to avoid readings that imply authoritative access to
> the meaning of a text, then we can't very effectively point out
> ambiguities either: an ambiguity is a specific reading, usually either
> the product of multiple and simultaneously valid meanings, or (in this
> case I think) a function of grammatical structure that keeps any clear
> and definite meaning from arising.
> 
> The problem here is the assumption that what is ambiguous to us now
> was ambiguous to Milton and his readers then.

There are hundreds of passages in PL which (properly) provoke heated
differences of construal, or general acknowledgment of
difficulty/ambiguity/etc. My problem in the current thread is that this
line does _not_ seem to me to be such a passage but, on the contrary,
fairly clear -- as paraphrased by  Rose Williams, "he should beware lest
he, being too secure, might swerve (from the true path, etc.)" In other
words, I am baffled by why this line has become a topic of discussion.

Carrol



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