[Milton-L] George Orwell and Milton

Dario Rivarossa dario.rivarossa at gmail.com
Fri Dec 3 15:25:42 EST 2010

Dear scholars

some days ago I attended the following, brilliant lecture
which was part of a series of events devoted to George Orwell. It
dealt with the symbolic meaning of animals in fairy tales in European
Literature, starting from Orwell's Animal Farm (the first edition was
called "A fairy story" in fact) back to the ancient Greek writers.
Some Miltonian issue emerged too. The lecturer, Marika Piva, had said
that in many fairy tales a clear parallelism can be seen between the
obnoxious behavior of animals and the behavior of... women! During the
discussion that followed, I suggested that the first, seminal link can
be found in the She-Serpent, the half-snake Counter-Eve that so often
is shown in the Medieval and Renaissance paintings of Adam and Eve's
Temptation. That is, the Jewish myth of Lilith. This view was shared
by her and other teachers/scholars in the room.
Then, since a major theme was Utopias & Distopias (negative Utopias),
I added that maybe Utopia is the worst Distopia: see Milton, where
Adam and Eve must "flee": they sort of force God to expel them in
order to start a properly human life. This too caught the listeners'

My impression - from various occasions - is that Milton, although not
much taught in Italian schools, has a certain number of 'fans' who
probably would like him to be better known and dealt with in this

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