[Milton-L] Milton's 'English' Skills

Horace Jeffery Hodges jefferyhodges at yahoo.com
Wed Aug 13 19:35:53 EDT 2008


Perhaps that's even more support for the argument that Milton would have found Middle English quite easy to read.
 
Jeffery Hodges
 
P.S. Note the spelling of my un-Chaucerian name.

--- On Wed, 8/13/08, Judith H. Anderson <anders at indiana.edu> wrote:

From: Judith H. Anderson <anders at indiana.edu>
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Milton's 'English' Skills
To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
Date: Wednesday, August 13, 2008, 6:12 PM

Jeffrey,

As a sophomore in college, I found Chaucer accessible.  I had some 
foreign language skills but no where near Milton's. (I grew up in 
urban Massachusetts, not in the South.)

Judith

_________________________
Judith H. Anderson
Chancellor's Professor
Department of English
Indiana University
1020 E. Kirkwood Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405-7103



On Wed, 13 Aug 2008, Horace Jeffery Hodges wrote:

> Dear Erick Ramalho,
>  
> Thank you. That was very comprehensive on Old English. I look forward to
reading the online paper by Hong Sehn -- as well as whatever I can find of the
other articles that you mention.
>  
> Just a further query on Middle English, if I may. Growing up as I did in
the Ozarks with its old-fashioned use of words (e.g., stout = strong, not fat)
and using the King James Bible in church (older people even prayed in King James
English), I found Chaucer more 'readable' than did many of my
university classmates. Would someone of Milton's generation have found
Middle English fairly easily readable?
>  
> Jeffery Hodges
>  
>
>
> --- On Wed, 8/13/08, Erick Ramalho <ramalhoerick at yahoo.co.uk> wrote:
>
> From: Erick Ramalho <ramalhoerick at yahoo.co.uk>
> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Milton's 'English' Skills
> To: "John Milton Discussion List"
<milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> Date: Wednesday, August 13, 2008, 9:15 AM
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> Dear Jeffery Hodges,
>  
> There have been three main theoretical viewpoints (none of which
either fully proved or dismissed) as for Milton ’s possible reading knowledge
of Old English, which are supported 1) by those who claim that knowledge
didn’t exist at all (e.g. W. F. Bolton’s stark observation in ‘A Further
Echo of the Old English Genesis in Milton 's Paradise Lost’. The Review of
English Studies, New Series, Vol. 25, No. 97 (Feb., 1974), pp. 58-61); 2) by
those who argue that it not only existed, but also allowed Milton’s borrowing
from Caedmon in writing PL; or 3) by those who assume that the Old English
echoes we believe to hear in Miltonic poetry actually originate in secondary
sources which are not in Old English, but more or less directly related to
(sometimes translated from) Anglo-Saxon sources. For the latter as well a recent
discussion on the topic you may like to refer to Hong Sehn’s paper ‘Milton
and Old English’ at
> http://www.sisins.zju.edu.cn/sh/doc/Milton%20and%20Old%20English.doc.
Although inconclusive, Sehn’s paper is quite useful in quoting former
approaches to the topic. Curiously, in listing the languages Milton knew at
different abilities, Professor J. K. Hale ( Milton as Multilingual), after
naming Latin, Greek, Italian…, considers that Milton might have been able to
read in Old English, although not dismissing the possibility that he couldn’t.
In other words, the matter stands inconclusive and sadly we are short of
evidence for proving any of these points.
>  
> Hope this might be of any help.
>  
> Best of luck,
>  
> Erick Ramalho
>  
>  
>
> --- On Wed, 13/8/08, Horace Jeffery Hodges <jefferyhodges at yahoo.com>
wrote:
>
> From: Horace Jeffery Hodges <jefferyhodges at yahoo.com>
> Subject: [Milton-L] Milton's 'English' Skills
> To: "John Milton Discussion List"
<milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> Date: Wednesday, 13 August, 2008, 6:50 AM
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> Did Milton know Old English and/or Middle English? Can anyone supply a
citation or an online source that I might be able to access?
>  
> How well might he have known these languages?
>  
> Jeffery Hodges_______________________________________________
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