[Milton-L] How do you like them apples...?

Christopher R Orchard corchard at iup.edu
Fri Aug 8 11:42:22 EDT 2008


So therefore, given these revelations, what are we to make of the 
wooly peach that Jonson offers in "To Penshurst"?


On Thu, 7 Aug 2008 16:45:52 -0700 (PDT)
  Robert Appelbaum <r_appel at yahoo.com> wrote:
> If I may, please consult the relevant section in my book on food in 
>the Renaissance, where I show that the forbidden fruit was actually a 
>peach.  Aguecheek's Beef, Belch's Hiccup, and Other Gastronomic 
>Interjections.  An earlier piece I published in MQ also makes this 
>argument.
>  
> Cheers,
> Robert
> 
> 
> Robert Appelbaum 
> Department of English and Creative Writing 
> Lancaster University 
> Lancaster, LA1 4YT 
> 
> www.robertappelbaum.com
>  
> or
>  
> http://www.lancs.ac.uk/users/english/staff/appelbaum.htm
>  
> 
> --- On Tue, 29/7/08, Horace Jeffery Hodges <jefferyhodges at yahoo.com> 
>wrote:
> 
>From: Horace Jeffery Hodges <jefferyhodges at yahoo.com>
> Subject: RE: [Milton-L] How do you like them apples...?
> To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> Date: Tuesday, 29 July, 2008, 2:06 PM
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> Red Herring? That depends upon what argument one is pursuing, and I 
>don't have an argument yet. I want to know what "apple"' means in 
>Paradise Lost. My hunch is that it has to do with Satan "scoffing in 
>ambiguous words" (PL 6.568), but there may be more to it.
>  
>For the record, however, I think that the tree is not quite "a thing 
>indifferent" (Means to Remove Hirelings). I do think it 'arbitrary' 
>-- in the sense that some other object could have been forbidden, but 
>once forbidden, it is "set apart" by God and therefore "sacred" -- 
>though not a sacrament, as Milton notes in Christian Doctrine. It is 
>sacred in the sense of being "under the ban," thus "dedicated to 
>God." I develop this thought further in my article "Milton's Tree of 
>Knowledge: Why 'Sacred' Fruit?"
> 
> Jeffery Hodges
>  
> 
> --- On Tue, 7/29/08, FLANNAGAN, ROY <ROY at uscb.edu> wrote:
> 
>From: FLANNAGAN, ROY <ROY at uscb.edu>
> Subject: RE: [Milton-L] How do you like them apples...?
> To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> Date: Tuesday, July 29, 2008, 7:42 AM
> 
> What hasn't been mentioned is that the fruit itself, or the type of 
>fruit,
> is what Milton called "a thing indifferent."  What IS important is
> "Man's first Disobedience."  I think the "apple"
> business is a red herring, and Satan's joking about a "mere
> apple" is a joke on Satan, not on God.
> 
> Treating "apple" as "fruit in general" is not important as
> compared with man's first disobedience.
> 
> If ikon-worshippers go after figs or apples or dogwood or Judas 
>trees, in
> positive or negative iconography, I think Milton deplores the 
>over-emphasis on
> a thing that has no meaning in itself.  The apple becomes an 
>irrelevant fetish.
> 
> Roy Flannagan
> 
> ________________________________
> 
>From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu on behalf of Horace Jeffery 
>Hodges
> Sent: Tue 7/29/2008 5:36 AM
> To: John Milton Discussion List
> Subject: [Milton-L] How do you like them apples...?
> 
> 
> I see that I am not the first to note the possibility that
> "apple"' in Milton's time meant "fruit" . . .  as
> well as what we mean by "apple." Karen Edwards notes this in 
>passing,
> or so it seems [see footnote 18: "apple may refer to fruit in
> general"].
> 
> 
> 
> Living in Korea, I lack ready access to books (and Milton-Listers 
>have often
> been very generous with their help), but through Google Books and 
>Amazon
> Search-Inside-the-Book, I've managed to piece together the following 
>from
> Karen Edwards's book, Milton and the Natural World:
> 
> 
> 
> Karen L. Edwards, Milton and the Natural World: Science and Poetry 
>in Paradise
> Lost (1999 - 280 pages)
> 
> 
> 
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 
> 
> 
> Page 96
> 
> 
> 
> [Concerning Satan . . .]
> 
> 
> 
> His fate follows hard upon and is a manifestation of his habit of 
>interpreting
> signs literally. Immediately before his metamorphosis, he boasts of 
>deceiving
> man with an apple: 
> 
> 
> him by fraud I have seduced
> 
>>From his creator, and the more to increase
> 
> Your wonder, with an apple. (PL. X. 485-87)
> 
> 
> 
> The boast signals what Milton might call "apprehension, carnall" or 
>a
> propensity 
> to deny the spirit that inheres in the letter.[15] Satan is an unfit 
>reader of
> Creation: to call the forbidden fruit a mere apple attests to an 
>inadequate
> hermeneutics.[16] For his denial of the spirit, incorporation in the 
>(dead)
> letter is appropriate. 
> 
> 
> The representation of Satan in book x is thus structured in direct 
>opposition
> to 
> what Milton sees as God's mode of representing himself in the 
>Scriptures.
> Although "God, as he really is, is far beyond man's imagination,"
> God has helped human understanding, Milton argues, by providing 
>descriptions of
> himself in the Bible.[17] These contain all that it is requisite for 
>human
> beings to know about him.[18]
> 
> 
> 
> . . .
> 
> 
> 
> Page 234
> 
> 
> 
> 15. Newton, ed., PL, IX.585n.
> 
> 
> 
> 16 The OED (apple sb., sense 4) follows suit.
> 
> 
> 
> 17 OED, apple, sb., sense 2.a.
> 
> 
> 18 Even if Satan could plead not guilty on the technicality that 
>apple may
> refer to fruit in general, the term is informal and familiar and 
>hence
> inappropriate to God's high prohibition. It constitutes a lie of 
>stylistic
> register.
> 
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 
> 
> 
> The footnotes look as though they do not fit the text. Are these 
>correct? Of
> did the more-recent edition confuse the notes?
> 
> 
> 
> Meanwhile, if any Milton-Listers know of other scholars who have 
>commented upon
> "apple" as "fruit in general," please let me know.
> 
> 
> 
> Jeffery Hodges_______________________________________________
> 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

Christopher Orchard, D.Phil
Associate Professor of English
Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Indiana, PA 15705


More information about the Milton-L mailing list