[Milton-L] RE: Samson's prayer for revengr

Paul Miller pm9 at comcast.net
Mon Feb 25 14:57:07 EST 2008


Jim

I am not trying to posit that there is no intended ambiguity in Milton's 
work just none intended by our esteemed author in this paticular instance. 
Responses have ranged from unadorned assertion to dogmatic certainty that 
the passage in view is pregnant with ambiguity. It is not enough to assume 
authorial ambiguity because Milton is known to have written it in in other 
places in his work. The source text and context argue against it and there 
has been little evidential argument put forward on this list to gainsay my 
position just naked assertion. I think it must be hoped that if the mantra 
of ambiguity is repeated often it might prove soporiferous enough to put me 
in thrall to the god Hypnos or maybe transport me to a poppy field with 
Dorothy and Toto.

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

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "James Rovira" <jamesrovira at gmail.com>
To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
Sent: Monday, February 25, 2008 11:55 AM
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] RE: Samson's prayer for revengr


> Paul --
>
> Differences in interpretation here, from my point of view, do not
> proceed from any commitment to "postmodernism" (which, frankly, annoys
> me), than it does from close attention to the language of the text,
> from attention to Milton's own historical context and his likely
> response to it, and that Milton chose to present his material
> ambiguously.  Again, we need to see this ambiguity as a deliberate
> choice on Milton's part, not a limitation to which he was subject.
> Milton chose to represent the scene from the messenger's point of view
> and chose to place the messenger in such a way as to render his
> testimony ambiguous.  Hannibal's previous post emphasized that we
> can't assume a uniformity of opinion on the part of Milton's readers.
>
> To me, the best way to approach this topic is to read these lines
> fully within the context of the  poem, and if I wasn't so behind in my
> grading right now I'd do that.  You're providing me a great service,
> actually: an excuse not to be grading another paper right now.  Thank
> you...thank  you...
>
> Jim R
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