[Milton-L] De Doc and PL

John Hale john.hale at otago.ac.nz
Tue Jan 6 20:38:09 EST 2009

Some brief points, on how this excellent strand of discussion has  
been developing:
1. Thank you, Roy, for amplifying your point, that De Doctrina  
"works" for PL, or by its nature helps understanding PL, in the same  
or similar way that some other prose texts underlie or prepare for  
later greater works. But it's the relationship or gap between each  
such pair of works that is still the fundamental problem.  It will vary.
2. It will vary especially where the difference in genres is  
greatest; which is the case with DDC and PL. It makes much more sense  
to gloss the DDC and the Logic from each other, as they have similar  
ground rules etc.
3. John Creaser's recent MQ essay captures some of the essential  
differences as perceived in the detailed workings of the styles of  
DDC and of PL.  The style of the poetry is both more open and more  
disciplined than Milton's prose.
4. Perhaps Milton reworked the verse more, and more systematically,  
than he did the prose.
5. The distinction between PL's exoteric and esoteric meanings leaves  
me unsure.  The labels once explained two different sets of  
philosophical writing, exoterikoi and esoterikoi logoi, for two  
different readerships, whereas on this hypothesis both apply to one  
and the same poem.
6. The idea certainly puts a new edge into the remark about "fit  
audience though few," but at the cost of an even more complicated  
theoretical tussle than usual about a poet's intention.  Milton would  
now have a twofold intention.  (All the time, or some of the time, or  
7. As teachers and publicists and performers of Milton it will become  
tougher claiming that Milton is readily accessible.
8. What other poets would this idea work for?  Dante?

Happy new year to all!

John Hale

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