[Milton-L] George Orwell and Milton

Nairba Sirrah nairbasirrah at msn.com
Sat Dec 4 10:56:45 EST 2010

That's true Dario,
I'm always delighted to realize how many hidden fans of Milton there are. It's like the Poe fan base - they hide, as if in waiting to pounce. I too like standing up after a lecture and redirecting the genberal perspective. I even did it once in an atomic phyics lecture. Where I pointed to Milton's description of outer space in Book II as the first on-record description of the atomic stricture of electrons flying around a nucleus - nearly 100 years ahead of its usually signposted time in the timeline of scientific discovery. See lines 900-903: "...and bring their embryon atoms, they around the flag of each his faction, in their several clans, light armed or heavy, sharp, smooth, swift, or slow, swarm populous..." I always try to get extra dramatic at that part during my "Satan Breaks Out of Hell" recitals.
> Date: Fri, 3 Dec 2010 21:25:42 +0100
> From: dario.rivarossa at gmail.com
> To: milton-l at lists.richmond.edu
> Subject: [Milton-L] George Orwell and Milton
> Dear scholars
> some days ago I attended the following, brilliant lecture
> http://www.baglioridautore.com/Programma/Animali_politici/Animali_politici.htm
> 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'
> interest.
> 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
> country.
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