[Milton-L] Is Paradise Lost

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Wed Apr 15 22:43:28 EDT 2009

Aren't you attacking a straw man here?  Declining to judge at all and
declining to judge between Milton and Shakespeare are two entirely
different things.  I would think my claim that invoking literary
greatness is meaningful when comparing Milton to Danielle Steele means
that every child does -not- deserve a gold star.  But asking which is
the better student  between one who scored 99 on Math and 100 on
English and another who scored 100 on Math and 99 on English is to ask
a ridiculous question.

The range of value judgments needed to place Milton above Shakespeare
needs to be fully explicated before such judgments can be pronounced,
and I hope would take into account how natural and eloquent
Shakespeare's dialogue can be compared to how convoluted and unnatural
Milton's imposition of Latin onto English sounds at times.  Greater
breadth of knowledge and sophistication of thought in Milton but more
acceptance of English as English in Shakespeare.

Jim R

On Wed, Apr 15, 2009 at 11:12 AM, Gregory Machacek
<Gregory.Machacek at marist.edu> wrote:
> I'll put my point more pointedly, then.
> Theoretically:  at what altitude does Parnassus plateau?   If judgment
> between Milton and Steele is possible, why isn't judgment between Milton
> and Shakespeare?
>I'm responding to the *tone* of many of the comments I cited, the jocular
and easy presupposition that evaluation has no part in the enterprise of
literary criticism, is essentially impossible--

reveals more about the critic than the work.

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