[Milton-L] Prelapsarian hair dressing--
rastrier at uchicago.edu
Thu Aug 5 13:35:17 EDT 2010
I think your student is highly to be commended. The question seems to me just
the kind of thing that Milton was indeed interested in. He was trying hard, and
with a lot of amazing success, to imagine what a fully Edenic fully human life
would look like. I think he would have been happy with this question. I don't
know whether he had worked out an answer. I could see him going either way -
- that their hair remained a "perfect" length or, perhaps more probably, that
they would have found a way, through their ingenuity, to groom themselves--
or, yet better, each other. I don't know whether angelic aid would have been
necessary, but it does remain a possibility.
And then, of course, there's the matter of prelapsarian excretion. Perhaps it was
sweet-smelling stuff that helped the garden. Perhaps their digestion was so
perfect that their systems assimilated everything; perhaps they excreted
upwards (sublimed) and somehow sighed it out.
Just the right things to be thinking about, I think, in an unfallen but truly
material world, and in a poem where the author was committed not to be
embarrassed (whatever hypocrites might austerely deem).
---- Original message ----
>Date: Thu, 5 Aug 2010 10:32:36 -0400
>From: Jeffrey Shoulson <jshoulson at mail.as.miami.edu>
>Subject: [Milton-L] Prelapsarian hair dressing
>To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> Here's a question one of my students
> posed--admittedly a little silly, but intriguing,
> nonetheless--for which I did not have a very
> satisfying answer. Perhaps some listserv subscriber
> can offer a better one:
> Book 4's description of Adam and Eve famously makes
> much of their hair and, particularly, how their
> respective hair lengths manifest their gendered
> differences. If we are to presume that things like
> knives and blades would not have been necessary or
> invented (cf. this list's earlier exchange about the
> Satanic origins of technological invention) had the
> Fall never occurred, what can we assume would have
> happened to Adam's and Eve's hair over time? Would
> it have simply stayed the same length? Would they
> have found other means to keep their hair in the
> state in which we first see them?
> (I won't even bother to add the further question I
> got about the apparent absence of prelapsarian
> facial hair on Adam).
> If the question is beneath this list or too silly,
> feel free to ignore. I did tell my students,
> however, that I would put it out on the list and see
> what it elicited.
> I need a haircut.
> Jeffrey S. Shoulson, Ph. D.
> Associate Professor of English and Judaic Studies
> University of Miami
> PO Box 248145
> Coral Gables, FL 33124-4632
> (o) 305-284-5596
> (f) 305-284-5635
> ON LEAVE, AY 2010-11
> jshoulson at miami.edu
>Milton-L mailing list
>Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu
>Manage your list membership and access list archives at
>Milton-L web site: http://johnmilton.org/
More information about the Milton-L