[Milton-L] Fetishizing Greatness, was Re: Is Paradise Lost

Carrol Cox cbcox at ilstu.edu
Fri Apr 24 13:19:51 EDT 2009

James Rovira wrote:
> Thanks for your response, Jeffery.
> I realize I'm greatly mistaken about the poetic nature of the
> Tractatus.  Reading again proposition 4.1273, for example:

I think my phrase was there is a tragic _rhythm_ to the Tractatus, which
ends in sort of a mysticism of silence, an emptying out of the
possibility of human knowledge. As to the rest, I suspect Jim can read
it better than I can, since I never really learned the language of
symbolic logic and wouldn't dream of trying to read the whole of the
Tractatus. :-) 

But what my post was really about was an implicit query of what it is we
actaully _do_ with literature (poems, fictions, verbal artifacts, what
have you) when we are not focused on writing an article for MQ or JEGP.
And I think the rigid distinctions that get made in formal criticism
tend to dissolve as we chat about books with others.

  And they want to know what we talked about?
                "_de litteris et de armis, praestantibusque
    Both of ancient times and our own; books, arms,
    And men of unusual genius,
    Both of ancient times and our own, in short the
usual subjects
    Of conversation between intelligent men."
                                    (Canto 11)

In Anti-Duhring Engels (who no more than Marx believed in writing
recipes for the cookshops of the future) in his few remarks on the needs
which a socialist society would have to fulfill listed  "books to argue


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