[Milton-L] Areopagitica in the NYPL

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Mon Feb 9 22:29:10 EST 2009

But in the passage from A that you quoted, a "book" is the "lifeblood"
of a "master spirit."  Book = blood = spirit, not life = blood =
spirit.  How does that fit Gen. 9:4 and make any sense, except
metaphorically?  A book, this physical object made of vellum or
whatever materials, is the "lifeblood" -- how is that possible?  I'm
assuming the word "book" here is a synecdoche for the contents of a
book -- the product of a human rational capacity -- which has to be
embodied somehow (in a living human being or on pages) in order to
continue to communicate at all.  If we don't get a person's ideas from
the person or from their book, we don't get a person's ideas.

Books themselves are very much living things in Milton's mind, they're
like an alternate embodiment of the human rational capacity.

Jim R

On Mon, Feb 9, 2009 at 9:34 PM, Horace Jeffery Hodges
<jefferyhodges at yahoo.com> wrote:
> James, I had assumed that Milton was thinking of such Old Testament passages
> as Genesis 9:4:
> But flesh with the life thereof, [which is] the blood thereof, shall ye not
> eat.
> After all, "the blood is the life" -- a nefesh (person, life, soul) breathed
> into mankind by God, who is Ruach (Spirit). Of course, Milton may have had
> lots of things in mind, so I'm not discounting your analysis.
> But what did "imbalm" mean in Milton's time?
> Jeffery Hodges

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