[Milton-L] Eve's curls (reply to William Moeck)

Carrol Cox cbcox at ilstu.edu
Thu Sep 3 16:41:53 EDT 2009

Milton 'defended" (or perhaps only assumed and was not self-consciously
"defending" anything) _some_ form of male supremacy. BUT the questions
at issue are totally muddled by  this crude use of "patriarchy" as
though (a) it was a perfectly clear concept (it is NOT), (b) that it was
a general label for all forms of male supremacy (it is NOT - at least
when used with any historical consciousness) No organization of social
relations is ever seriously defended until it has first been seriously
challenged. No such challenge had been raised to male supremacy in
Milton's day, and though England was no longer a patriarchal society,
many 'left-over' features of patriarchy were still sufficiently
unchallenged as not to require or call forth any aggressive defense.
Vigorous self-assertion by individual women are from our perspective
'straws in the wind' of what was to come in the following centuries, but
such phenomena could hardly exert much pull on an epic intention as
ambitious as Milton's. 

This does not at all resolve the various questions about gender in
Milton, but I think discussion of those questions would be greatly
clarified if this matter of Patriarchy were shoved to one side.


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