[Milton-L] Cosmic and Sublime

Peter C. Herman herman2 at mail.sdsu.edu
Sat Feb 2 22:22:54 EST 2008

A small correction: The Modern Library editors 
and others, such as David Kastan, are not 
providing "modernized translations" of Milton, 
but a modernization of Milton's spelling and 
grammar. These editions are not to be mistaken 
for, say, the contemporary versions of the 
Canterbury Tales published by Penguin. Ms. 
Stanger should be reassured that Milton's verse 
and prose are not at all "translated" into 
contemporary English, but brought into line with 
contemporary conventions in exactly the same way 
that we read "modernized" versions of Shakespeare 
in the Riverside or "modernized" versions of 
Chaucer in (also) the Riverside. There are good 
arguments to be made for retaining Milton's 
original spelling and grammar. For example, as 
John Shawcross has informed me privately, Milton 
was deeply involved with the printing of PL, and 
so, the spelling and the grammar are his in a way 
that the quartos are not Shakespeare's. But 
modernizing Milton as the Modern Library editors 
do is not at all diluting or "dumbing down" our 
man. It's about making him more accessible.

Peter C. Herman


Could Ms. Stanger explain a bit further what she 
means by a "star test" and how they "create 
curriculum"? many thanks in advance, pch

At 04:33 PM 2/2/2008, you wrote:
>I work for a tutoring center (while i labor over my degree) and we give
>out star tests to create curriculum. What I found appalling is that when a
>student scores a 50% it is considered grade level. Sadly we just received
>an email from the board of education stating that the national standard
>for star testing has just been lowered all over the country because
>students are now scoring even lower than the average 50%. This information
>compounded by the fact that they've now modernized Milton because people
>think he's too hard to read just makes me feel even worse for the state of
>our educational system. As always it seems like they (the powers that be
>or whoever is to blame) are not attempting to fix a problem just cover it
>up. I would think so much is lost in these modernized translations of
>Milton and Shakespeare. When I reached college I felt let down by my high
>school education and started to really see the lack in our system. I guess
>my question is, can we do anything? Or, is my naiveté showing?
> > This is a Wall Street Journal article about the new Modern Library Milton
> > collected poems and selected prose
> >
> >
> > http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120182675406533779.html?mod=googlenews_wsj
> >
> >
> > Paul Miller
> >
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