[Milton-L] Samson and a plug

jfleming at sfu.ca jfleming at sfu.ca
Sat Feb 23 19:03:14 EST 2008

Perhaps, since people I respect have done this sort of thing before, it may
not be totally inappropriate for me to mention at this point that my book,
_Milton's Secrecy_, has very recently been published (Ashgate, 2008), and
has a discussion of the current issues (in chapters 2 and 3) that may not be
utterly irrelevant or completely unsurprising. Very best wishes, JD Fleming

On Sat, 23 Feb 2008 18:16:21 -0400 milton-l at lists.richmond.edu wrote:
> I wonder how Milton could have dramatised Samson's prayer, making it
> audible. It is an intimate, intensely private communion with God, not
> something to be shouted out for a crowd of unbelievers to share. The
> divine redactor in the Bible is inspired to know what Samson thinks or 
> prays silently. Milton's messenger is not. He cannot know.The key word 
> in SA is 'prayed;' .The echo directs us to Judges which tells us
> exactly what the prayer was.The dynamics of 'Imitating' from a divine
> text (we might say 'fictionalising') are different from imitating
> ordinary fiction. In Troilus and Criseyde, for instance, Chaucer cuts
> away huge passages of Il Filostrato to make Criseyde a quite different 
> character from the shallow, sexy stereotypical woman in the original
> -- the original has no authority. With the Bible, it does. Many
> readers trying to civilise Samson' s murderous brutality imagine
> Milton is softening and humanising the harsh revenger of Judges by
> omitting the words of the prayer. Not so. He does not write 'planned'
> or 'hesitated.'  His own people think his revenge was 'dreadful'; much 
> more than an eye for an eye here. The word 'revenge' occurs, I think,
> six times in the last part of the play
> Carey's review is, as usual, brilliantly original and provocative,
> compared with Ackroyd's rathher dull summary.Thank you Paul and Roy
> for the URL's. dw
> Derek N. C. Wood,
> Senior Research Professor,
> St. Francis Xavier University,
> Canada,    B2G 2W5
> ton could have 
> e-mail: dwood at stfx.ca
> phone: 902-867-2328 (w)
>	     902-863-5433 (h)
> fax:	    902-867-5400
> web:	   http://www.stfx.ca/people/dwood
> <http://www.stfx.ca/people/dwood/Welcome.html> /Welcome.html 
> ________________________________
> From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu on behalf of Paul Miller
> Sent: Sat 23-Feb-08 1:43 PM
> To: John Milton Discussion List
> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Peter Ackroyd examines Milton
> James Rovira ---> "The Ackroyd piece isn't nearly as interesting as
> review of
> Beer's biography"
> I missed the link the first time and as I read his review I came across
> this:
> Carey ---> "In Samson Agonistes, too, Beer misses the crucial point. In
> Book of Judges Samson prays to God for strength, and is granted it, before
> pulling down the building on the heads of the Philistines. But in Milton's
> account the prayer is omitted"
> No Milton really didn't omit the prayer he uses his own poetic nuance
> in the
> depiction of it.
> "He unsuspitious led him; which when Samson
> Felt in his arms, with head a while enclin'd,
> And eyes fast fixt he stood, as one who pray'd,
> Or some great matter in his mind revolv'd". SA Milton
> Paul Miller
> So Hills amid the Air encounterd Hills
> Hurl'd to and fro with jaculation dire,
> That under ground, they fought in dismal
> shade --- Paradise Lost
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James Dougal Fleming
Department of English
Simon Fraser University
cell: 778-865-0926

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