[Milton-L] Re: unfallen psychology

Alice Crawford Berghof aberghof at uci.edu
Tue Jul 1 13:34:53 EDT 2008


Dear Professor Strier,
I couldn't agree more, and am hoping this is not hearkening back to my 
position in the debate over Kierkegaard.  There, I was trying to 
emphasize the importance of Edenic freedom while attempting to be 
cautious when applying to prelapsarian life twentieth-century 
conceptions of psychology.  (I have scanned recent postings to find the 
precise quote you've given here, and can't find it, forgive me...)  I 
suppose the question of the distinction between language and psychology 
is central to all of the recent debates.  I am wondering what people on 
the list think, in general, about what the Ramist logic would 
contribute to the discussion, in terms of an attitude toward causality 
as well as the role of rhetoric in causality.  The two parts of your 
point, that there is unfallen psychology and that this can be 
represented in language, are fascinating each in its own right.  For 
the former, I am wondering whether you would agree that reason and 
passion would suffice, as terms, hence bypassing the question of 
twentieth-century revisions of early modern as well as Edenic thinking. 
  For the second issue I am wondering whether you would take the Ramist 
logic as something of a rhetoric for Milton, as a lens on the Christian 
Doctrine passages that have been quoted recently.  Specifically, do you 
find that the Ramist logic has a stance on the capacity of language to 
represent reason and passion (psychology)?

Looking forward to meeting you someday.  I am a great admirer of your 
work.
Alice Berghof

On Jul 1, 2008, at 9:56 AM, richard strier wrote:

> To say that "Milton could not conceive of an unfallen human
> psychology, or represent it in language" seems to me to be
> EXACTLY wrong, and to thoroughly underestimate the
> astonishing achievement of the most original parts of PL
> (namely, the presentation of human life before the Fall).
> What a pity that someone devoted to Milton should think this.
>
> RS
>
>
> Richard Strier
> Department of English
> University of Chicago
> 1115 East 58th Street
> Chicago, IL 60637
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