[Milton-L] "The liveliest pair"

richard strier rastrier at uchicago.edu
Tue Oct 20 19:10:09 EDT 2009


Wonderful!  Typos are often better than the original.  Recall Empson's sorrow at 
discovering that "soiled fish of the sea" and the "impassioned beauty" of a great 
machine were typos.  Oh well.  Truth, as Bacon said so beautifully, is often 
blander than   fantasy.  

You (and, unwittingly, Campbell) have enriched the poem by bringing in this 
resonance, even when the correct reading is restored.  I hope everyone will 
remember it!

---- Original message ----
>Date: Tue, 20 Oct 2009 15:11:59 -0700
>From: "Michael O'Connell" <oconnell at english.ucsb.edu>  
>Subject: [Milton-L] "The liveliest pair"  
>To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
>
>Ah, the pleasure of typos!
>
>I've been using the Everyman Complete English Poems of Milton this term, 
>edited by our extraordinarily learned colleague Gordon Campbell.  One 
>word that escaped Gordon's eye was in PL 4, 321, where we learn that 
>Adam and Eve were "the liveliest pair / That ever since in love's 
>embraces met".  A mischievous typographer?  My students were 
>understandably a bit disappointed when, duty bound, I gave them the true 
>reading of the line.
>
>But who's to say that A & E were not also the liveliest pair in their 
>love's embraces? 
>
>Michael O'Connell
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