[Milton-L] Is Paradise Lost or Are We Lost?

Kemmer Anderson kanderso at mccallie.org
Thu Apr 16 13:28:50 EDT 2009

Why not go back to Milton's poem on Shakespeare. Have we forgotten 
what is to teach a young poet? I was a bohemian abstract. I submit 
something I wrote out at the University of Arizona at the NEH. I try 
to apply Erik Erikson's "ego identity." Maybe a future paper but i 
used some of the material from his Jefferson lecture for a paper. 
Shakespeare is a poet.

  Milton "On Shakespear": The Poetics of Individuality

When Milton at age 21 writes his rhyming eulogy for Shakespeare, he 
sees his own future in the death of Shakespeare who is now entombed 
in the Second Folio of plays. At this stage of development behind the 
walls of Christ College, Milton, the poet of "On the Morning of 
Christ's Nativity", now in his rhyming couplets has a "sense of ego identity."
According to Erik Erikson, "the sense of ego identity, then, is the 
accrued confidence that one's ability to maintain inner sameness and 
continuity (one's ego in the psychological sense) is matched by the 
sameness and continuity of one's meaning for others."  Milton finds 
in Shakespeare a sameness in their shared identity as English 
language poets. There is hope for Milton to claim this relationship 
to Shakespeare because how could the Shakespeare of the sonnets 
become the master of English drama. How could Milton of the early 
poems, especially this rhyming eulogy, become the master of English 
epic? Through a study of Milton's later prose, we see the process of 
differentiation that allows the Lady of Christ to shed the skin of 
heroic worship as he develops his own form of poetic individuality.  Kemmer   

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