[Milton-L] renaissance faculties psychology and literature

Salwa Khoddam skhoddam at cox.net
Wed Sep 2 13:01:31 EDT 2009

RE: [Milton-L] renaissance faculties psychology and literatureProfessor Butler,
Thanks for your correction with regard to Bacon.  I apologize for simplifying Bacon's ideas on the Imagination.  From my own research on Bacon, I find  some inconsistencies on his part on the role of the Imagination and the sciences.   I'm looking forward to reading your article.
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Butler, Todd Wayne 
  To: John Milton Discussion List 
  Sent: Wednesday, September 02, 2009 12:04 AM
  Subject: RE: [Milton-L] renaissance faculties psychology and literature

  This might be a bit of an aside from the original query, so I won't belabor the point, but I'd contend (and have contended) that Bacon held the imagination in much more esteem. In De Augmentis, Sylva Sylvarum and elsewhere he's simultaneously fascinated by and suspicious of the imagination, granting to it a substantial power over the thought processes of human beings. In an oft-quoted passage from book 5 of De Augmentis, for example, Bacon writes: "Neither is the imagination simply and only a messenger; but it is either invested with or usurps no small authority in itself, besides the simple duty of the message" (4:406).

  See my "Bacon and the Politics of the Prudential Imagination," SEL 46.1.


  -----Original Message-----
  [snip] Interestingly Bacon inverts the order
  of the faculties and places Imagination at the bottom of this hierarchy,
  much like Plato but not Aristotle.
  You probably are familiar with all that and with William B. Hunter, "Eve's
  Demoniac Dream," ELH, 13 (1946), 255-65.
  Best Regards,
  Salwa Khoddam

  Todd Butler
  Associate Professor and Buchanan Scholar
  Vice Chair, Department of English
  Washington State University
  Pullman, WA  99164-5020
  (509) 335-2639 


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