[Milton-L] Is Paradise Lost

Tony Demarest tonydemarest at hotmail.com
Tue Apr 14 14:08:10 EDT 2009

How can one call Longinus and his "peri hupsos" as testament for a 17th century work? Why not Aristotle? Plato, or perhaps e.g.'s from Homer, Diogenes' On Style?- if memory serves me correctly, and my Greek is at least 48 years ago- Longinus discussed rhetoric with bird walks into literature; the sublime was a form of almost perfect speech- as with the sophists, relegated to a specific aspect of discourse. As one should be wary of applying Freud to Hamlet, the obverse is equally true: one should be wary of applying Longinus to Milton- and not widening the interpretation to accommodate 21st century thought? Longinus is valuable in formulating a stand-alone definition of the "sublime," but hardly the "good starting point" you suggest. Rather a piece of the LEGO, rather than the directions, no? I remember Longinus' receiving less time than Sainte Beuve- perhaps this is my loss and I have spoken in ignorance. I would always defer to Aristotle.

> Date: Tue, 14 Apr 2009 13:42:02 -0400
> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Is Paradise Lost
> From: jamesrovira at gmail.com
> To: milton-l at lists.richmond.edu
> Nancy -- why would you expect a definition of greatness from people
> who think the question is inane?
> Longinus would be a good starting point here, wouldn't it?  Emphasis
> on the experience of reading for reader, seeking qualities within the
> text which provoke that experience, objectifying a subjective
> experience, etc.
> Jim R
> On Tue, Apr 14, 2009 at 1:33 PM, Nancy Charlton
> <ncharlton2009 at hotmail.com> wrote:
>> I can't believe it! A community that includes most of the best and brightest
>> in Milton studies caviling over a non-issue we'd rap our students' knuckles
>> for! There has not been one scintilla of definition of "greatness" or "poet"
>> laid out in this whole discussion. The most that can be said is that it at
>> least makes us focus on this omission. And maybe not take it too seriously.
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