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

Jameela Lares Jameela.Lares at usm.edu
Thu Aug 14 06:30:14 EDT 2008

Horace Jeffery Hodges replied to Erick Ramalho at 01:03 PM 8/13/2008:

> 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?

To which Peter C. Herman replied (Wed, 13 Aug 2008 13:10:04 -0700):

> Given Chaucer's popularity in both the sixteenth and seventeenth
> centuries, the answer is probably yes.

Popular, yes.  See e.g. http://special.lib.gla.ac.uk/exhibns/chaucer/works.html.
But by 1598 Thomas Speght's edition including an appendix glossing "hard words."
 Perhaps the issue wasn't that the language was easy but was found interesting?


Jameela Lares, Ph.D.
Professor of English
The University of Southern Mississippi
118 College Drive, #5037
Hattiesburg, MS  39406-0001
601 266-6214 ofc
601 266-5757 fax

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