[Milton-L] Gary Taylor

R. Nesvet upstart_crow2 at yahoo.com
Sun May 18 15:57:15 EDT 2008

Gary Taylor awarded a fellowship or residency to a critic whom he called "one of the six most brilliant Renaissance scholars in the world under 40," who argues that:
  1) "genetic mutations" occurring in the human species since the sixteenth century may account for some of what we don't know about sixteenth-century thought and behaviour
  2) that, as a rule, "the more time, space, and diverse representations of events separate us from them, the more difficult it is to discern absolutely what actually occurred" (I argued that I am more certain that Fenton killed Buckingham by himself than that Oswald killed Kennedy by himself, but whatever).
  3) ... that consequently, we can't know what happened in the past and it's presumptuous and futile to try to figure it out.
  4) ... but, conversely, "'consistency of representation' as a strong form of evidence." So if 6 early modern writers claim that pelicans nurse their young with their own blood, then sixteenth-century pelicans must have done just that. This is not the example that said critic gives. He was saying that the 16th-century equivalent of penny dreadfuls accurately represented that criminal underworld. But obviously this is not a reasonable *theory* in general application.
  If this is one of Taylor's six most brilliant scholars, I'd hate to read #7.
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