[Milton-L] milton's bones

Jameela Lares Jameela.Lares at usm.edu
Thu Apr 23 10:59:30 EDT 2009

Carol Barton did extensive and possibly even exhausive research on the topic.  See her "'Ill Fare the Hands that Heaved the Stones':  John Milton, A Preliminary Thanatography" in Milton Studies 43 (2004): 198-260.
Jameela Lares
Professor of English
The University of Southern Mississippi
118 College Drive, #5037
Hattiesburg, MS  39406-0001
601 266-4319 ofc
601 266-5757 fax
From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] On Behalf Of Richard Yoder [rpyoder at ualr.edu]
Sent: Thursday, April 23, 2009 9:04 AM
To: John Milton Discussion List
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] milton's bones

Others will know more than I, but it is a very famous story.  There was even a drive to recover Milton's scattered pieces, which I've always associated with the title of the essay collection edited by Ferguson and Nyquist, *Re-Membering Milton*.  I think it was Leigh Hunt who had the lock of Milton's hair that inspired John Keats' "On Seeing a Lock of Milton's Hair."

Paul Yoder

----- Original Message -----
From: Leslie McMurtry <leslie.mcmurtry at gmail.com>
Date: Thursday, April 23, 2009 8:56 am
Subject: [Milton-L] milton's bones
To: John Milton Discussion List <Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu>

> Hi all,
> I was recently in London doing Milton-y research things.  Part of that involved looking at some Milton objects in the collections of the Museum of London.  The curator couldn't tell me much about the objects (including a pane of glass said to come from his house, 18 Barbican!) but she did tell me an interesting story.  She said she used to do a talk to students about the area of St Giles Cripplegate (where Milton is buried of course).  I'm quoting her tale from her notes which she gave me after I had looked at the objects:  "Some famous people connected with the church are Oliver Cromwell, who got married here in 1620, aged 21.  John Milton, the poet who wrote Paradise lost, was buried here in 1674.  In 1793 they opened up his coffin and the workmen who did it decided to take his teeth as souvenirs.  They couldn't get them out at first so they had to whack his jaw with a stone to loosen them.  They also took handfuls of his hair that were still sticking to the skull and a rib bone.  If you paid the caretaker 6p, she would let you look in the coffin."
> My question is, has anyone ever heard this post-burial trauma story?  Does anyone know of a written source?  The curator couldn't remember where she had read it.
> Poor maimed Milton!
> Sincerely,
> Leslie McMurtry > _______________________________________________
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R. Paul Yoder
Associate Professor
English Department
2801 S. University
Little Rock, AR  72204-1099
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