[Milton-L] Is Paradise Lost

Jeffrey Shoulson jshoulson at mail.as.miami.edu
Tue Apr 14 12:24:24 EDT 2009


Until the MLA gets some sense and realizes the commercial value in  
instituting a playoff system, we'll never the know the real answer to  
this question anyway.

Jeffrey S. Shoulson, Ph. D.
Associate Professor of English and Judaic Studies
University of Miami
PO Box 248145
Coral Gables, FL 33124-4632

(o) 305-284-5596
(f) 305-284-5635

jshoulson at miami.edu
www.as.miami.edu/english/people/#jshoulson



On Apr 14, 2009, at 11:53 AM, Peter C. Herman wrote:

>
> I don't suppose it would matter to anyone that in the early modern  
> period, the term "poet" encompassed both drama and verse. There are  
> "poets" in theatres as well as bookstalls.
>
> pch
>
> At 08:39 AM 4/14/2009, you wrote:
>> 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 worrds strung together for  
>> their own sake. Look at Milton’s, especially the oneâ 
>> €™s where he muses about how his time was spent. Shakespeareâ 
>> €™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 â 
>> €œbad” 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 writerâ 
>> €™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 wasnâ 
>> €™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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