[Milton-L] Is Paradise Lost

Michael Bryson michael.bryson at csun.edu
Tue Apr 14 11:39:47 EDT 2009


It is the spectator, and not life, that art really
mirrors--Oscar Wilde

Of course, Wilde wasn't a poet either...another
stringer together of "emotionless words [...] for
their own sake" no doubt.

Michael Bryson

---- Original message ----

  Date: Tue, 14 Apr 2009 11:30:12 -0400
  From: jonnyangel <junkopardner at comcast.net>
  Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Is Paradise Lost
  To: John Milton Discussion List
  <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>

  The only thing I’ll give Bill’s Sonnets (which
  have never left the top of my toilet, where I’ve
  read them for years on the crapper) is that he
  eventually got little playful with the form,
  whereas Milton never did. But I’m not talking
  about Sonnets. Shakespeare’s sonnets mean
  nothing – they’re transparent, emotionless
  words strung together for their own sake. Look at
  Milton’s, especially the one’s where he muses
  about how his time was spent. Shakespeare’s
  “poetry” isn’t transcendent because it
  didn’t “mean” anything. I hate to mention
  that anti-Semite/Milton-hater Ezra Pound, but at
  the very least he knew that emotion in poetry was
  its only transcendent quality.

  And yes, Shakespeare “could” be both a
  Playwright AND a poet (and even a plumber), but he
  wasn’t. He was a playwright, and his sonnets
  pale in comparison to Milton’s, and comparing
  the two as “poets” is like comparing an orange
  to motor oil.

  And I don’t need to “limit” Shakespeare by
  stating that he wasn’t a poet...hell, he did
  that all by himself.

  I love Shakespeare, but the guards changed with
  Milton.

  And thank God for the changing of the guards.

  J

  My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
  Coral is far more red, than her lips red:
  If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
  If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
  I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
  But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
  And in some perfumes is there more delight
  Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
  I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
  That music hath a far more pleasing sound:
  I grant I never saw a goddess go,
  My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
  And yet by heaven, I think my love as rare,
  As any she belied with false compare.

  -Bill

  When I consider how my light is spent,
      E're half my days, in this dark world and
  wide,
      And that one Talent which is death to hide,
      Lodg'd with me useless, though my Soul more
  bent
  To serve therewith my Maker, and present
      My true account, least he returning chide,
      Doth God exact day labour, light deny'd,
      I fondly ask; But patience to prevent
  That murmur, soon replies, God doth not need
      Either man's work or his own gifts, who best
      Bear his milde yoak, they serve him best, his
  State
  Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
      And post o're Land and Ocean without rest:
      They also serve who only stand and waite.

  -M

  On 4/14/09 9:34 AM, "Josh Fischer"
  <josh at louisvillegolf.com> wrote:

    As my favorite Wendell Berry likes to espouse -
    a human is irreducible, and to reduce
    Shakespeare to only a playwright is to reduce
    him to the parts of him that are popular and
    ignore the beauty of his sonnets, which gather
    less press but are impressive nonetheless.

    He can be both - playwright and poet, and to
    reduce him is to limit his greatness.
    Limitations are needless, especially when there
    are so many actual limitations placed on us by
    being human.

    We are all such "complicated monsters."
    - Joshua Fischer
     

      ----- Original Message -----
       
      From:  jonnyangel
      <mailto:junkopardner at comcast.net>  
       
      To: John Milton Discussion List
      <mailto:milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>   
       
      Sent: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 8:05  AM
       
      Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Is Paradise  Lost
       

      Thank you Marlene.

      But Shakespeare *wasn’t* a  poet. Not that
      it’s a “bad” thing, but he was a
      playwright.  

      Milton...now that’s a poet. And I will deny
      Shakespeare as a poet till  the day I die,
      unless a real poet shows me something I
      missed.

      “I've  been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a
      poet, a pawn and a king
      I've been up  and down and over and out and I
      know one thing
      Each time I find myself  layin' flat on my
      face
      I just pick myself up and get back in the
       race.”

      (Thank you Frank.)

      And yes, I say Shalom and mean it, but
       Shakespeare isn’t going to dig himself out
      of his grave and write poetry  either way.

      And BTW, Keats, Chaucer and Pope couldn’t
      catch Milton if  you dug them all up now and
      gave them a 200 year head start. You see,
       time doesn’t exist.

      And it sure as hell ain’t ever gonna change
       the facts.

      Peace, Love, and Billy Jack,  

      J

      On 4/14/09 6:40 AM, "Marlene  Edelstein"
      <malkaruth2000 at yahoo.co.uk>  wrote:

       

        Shalom? Shalom? If it's peace and harmony
        you're  after don't go about calling
        Shakespeare a one-trick pony and denying
        that  he's a poet. Why the need to establish
        a hierarchy of the greatest? My love  of
        poetry and language was nurtured by by both
        Shakespeare and Milton (and  Keats, Chaucer
        and Pope, by the way); returning to either
        is a  rebirth.

                      Marlene  R.  Edelstein

                          

        believe  everything, believe nothing

        --- On Tue, 14/4/09, jonnyangel
         <junkopardner at comcast.net>  wrote:
         

          From: jonnyangel
          <junkopardner at comcast.net>
          Subject:  Re: [Milton-L] Is Paradise Lost
          To: "John Milton Discussion List"
           <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
          Date:  Tuesday, 14 April, 2009, 10:55 AM

          Re: [Milton-L] Is Paradise Lost  Yes, Yes,
          and Yes. PL is the greatest work of
          literature in the “English”  Language;
          how could it not be? And you really
          can’t compare Shakespeare to  Milton (or
          vice versa), because Bill was a playwright
          and John was (first  and foremost) a poet.
          But you you can compare them with regard
          to  the fact that both were writer’s,
          and both wrote in the English language.
           Shakespeare was a phenomenal verbal
          linguist, and you can’t deny that. But
           Milton was a poet (which is something
          Shakespeare simply wasn’t), AND  Milton
          could also handle an epic narrative,
          multiple characters, temporal  space, and
          the single largest topic that exists:
          Man/Woman, Heaven/Hell,  God/Satan, and
          all of the binaries of life’s
          Black/White morality forming  grey areas
          that are still being sought, fought, and
          argued over in the  21st century.

          Look, when it comes to the heavyweights,
          whether  it’s Milton/Shakespeare or
          Frazier/Ali, it’s all subjective. Is
          Godzilla  “greater” than King Kong? Is
          an electrolyte imbalance “greater”
          than  cancer? They can (and often will)
          take you to the same place at the end of
           the day.

          But if I could be fortunate enough to have
          an escort to  that place, I hope Milton is
          my escort.

          Shakespeare, for all of  his brilliance,
          was a one trick pony. Milton was a jack of
          many trades,  and the master of most of
          them.

          Even though you can argue someone  till
          you’re blue in the face that PL is the
          greatest work of English  Literature ever
          written, you will still get arguments to
          the contrary –  but there are other
          factors/variables in the equation to be
          considered.  

          Shakespeare carved out his slice of the
          pie, and Milton served up  the rest.

          Shalom,

          Jonathan B. Colburn  

          On 4/14/09 12:22 AM, "Alan Rudrum"
          <alanrudrum at gmail.com>  wrote:

           

            the greatest single work of  literature
            in the English language, as was stated
            on this list  recently?

            Certainly it might be argued that it is;
            but when I  raised the question with the
            scholar nearest to hand, we said
             simultaneously "What about King Lear?"

            And then there is Wordsworth's Prelude,
             which begins with a meaningful echo of
            Samson Agonistes, - not  every Milton
            scholar of my acquaintance managed to
            see this for  himself,- and speaks at
            least as well as Paradise Lost to the
             concerns of many people one would
            hesitate to condemn as  stupid.

            Alan Rudrum

             

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