[Milton-L] Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night...

Horace Jeffery Hodges jefferyhodges at yahoo.com
Fri Dec 26 16:18:20 EST 2008

Well, since I'm asked -- at least implicitly -- to be humorless, or at least serious, then I would agree that Milton knows how to state his thesis quite clearly and methodically, and I would also agree that Paradise Lost itself presents an argument. Some years back, I even published an article exploring why Milton chooses to construct his argument in poetic form . . . though I can't say that I was entirely successful in demonstrating why he did.
Jeffery Hodges

--- On Fri, 12/26/08, Andrew Strycharski <andy at strycharski.org> wrote:

From: Andrew Strycharski <andy at strycharski.org>
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night...
To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
Date: Friday, December 26, 2008, 2:57 PM

Horace Jeffery Hodges wrote:
> Cristina wrote:
>   "In today's academies of consumer-based politics, Milton might
have gotten stuck in basic or developmental writing until he learned to have a
clear thesis statement."
>  Good point, Cristina! Johnny can't write! I mean, look at this
tangled mess:

I hope it's not too humorless of me to ask, what about this:

". . .  I shall now attend with such a homily as shall lay before ye,
first, the inventors of it to be those whom ye will be loth to own; next, what
is to be thought in general of reading, whatever sort the books be; and that
this Order avails nothing to the suppressing of scandalous, seditious, and
libellous books, which were mainly intended to be suppressed. Last, that it will
be primarily to the discouragement of all learning and the stop of truth, not
only by disexercising and blunting our abilities in what we know already, but by
hindering and cropping the discovery that might be yet further made both in
religious and civil wisdom."

Milton's own school exercises often have a clearly stated thesis. Of
course, he made fun of the assignments while fulfilling them, as many precious
youngsters do. That said, he was proud enough of several school compositions to
have saved them.

And might it not be among the oddities of Paradise Lost within the epic
tradition that it does state a more-or-less argumentative thesis?

Andrew Strycharski, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, English Department
Florida International University
Andrew.Strycharski at fiu.edu

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