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

John Rumrich rumrich at mail.utexas.edu
Fri Aug 8 12:32:14 EDT 2008


Or Prufrock's peachy hesitation.


On Aug 8, 2008, at 10:42 AM, Christopher R Orchard wrote:

> 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
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>> http://lists.richmond.edu/mailman/listinfo/milton-l_______________________________________________
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>
> Christopher Orchard, D.Phil
> Associate Professor of English
> Indiana University of Pennsylvania
> Indiana, PA 15705
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