[Milton-L] RE: culturomics/genome--and an Early Modern Culture upcoming issue

Crystal L Bartolovich clbartol at syr.edu
Fri Dec 17 12:17:27 EST 2010


Those of you particularly interested in this thread may be equally interested in--even interested in contributing to-- an upcoming issue of Early Modern Culture in which we will take up the question of the scientistic turn in the humanities by way of responses to an article by David Hawkes, "Against Materialism in Literary Theory."

Very Quickly: in this essay, Hawkes takes to task scientism in literary studies-- particularly the adoption of metaphors and "data" from brain scans and the like for literary study, on the grounds that they are "materialist."  Polemically, he declares himself "idealist" in opposition to it.   No Milton in the essay, but he does deploy early modern lit examples aplenty in his discussion (alongside a critique of books, such as Crane’s Shakespeare’s Brain).

Anyone who thinks that they might be interested in writing a brief response —from any number of angles (it doesn’t have to be a “review”-- you could go at the problems raised in your own way, including by way of Milton studies)--please get in touch with me OFF LIST (clbartol at syr.edu) and I’ll send the Hawkes essay to you explain a bit more about what we are trying to do in the issue of EMC.

If you want to take a look at EMC, we are at: http://emc.eserver.org





On 12/17/10 11:39 AM, "milton-l-request at lists.richmond.edu" <milton-l-request at lists.richmond.edu> wrote:

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> Today's Topics:
>
>    1. Culturomics? Genome? (Thomas H. Luxon)
>    2. Re: Culturomics? Genome? (Shoulson, Jeffrey)
>    3. Re: Culturomics? Genome? (Sara van den Berg)
>    4. Re: Culturomics? Genome? (Sara van den Berg)
>    5. RE: Culturomics? Genome? (Gilliatt, Cynthia Ann - gilliaca)
>    6. Re: RE: Culturomics? Genome? (James Rovira)
>    7. RE: Re: orthodox doctrine in Milton vs "tasteless"        intention
>       (Nairba Sirrah)
>
>
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Message: 1
> Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2010 10:53:52 -0500
> From: "Thomas H. Luxon" <Thomas.H.Luxon at dartmouth.edu>
> Subject: [Milton-L] Culturomics? Genome?
> To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> Cc: Richard Strier <rastrier at midway.uchicago.edu>,      "C. Robertson
>         McClung" <C.Robertson.McClung at dartmouth.edu>,   Aden Evens
>         <Aden.Evens at dartmouth.edu>,     Flanagan
> <Mary.Flanagan at dartmouth.edu>,
>         Katharine Conley <Katharine.Conley at dartmouth.edu>, Mary
> Message-ID: <EFEA6EBF-CA98-42D2-A547-4B8DE0FDE794 at dartmouth.edu>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="Windows-1252"
>
> Fellow scholars,
>
> I read this in today's Guardian about two "culturomics" researchers at Harvard
> who are using Google data and $ to study the English language "genome":
>
> "In their initial analysis of the database, the team found that around 8,500
> new words enter the English language every year and the lexicon grew by 70%
> between 1950 and 2000. But most of these words do not appear in dictionaries.
> "We estimated that 52% of the English lexicon ? the majority of words used in
> English books ? consist of lexical 'dark matter' undocumented in standard
> references," they wrote in the journal Science (the full paper is available
> with free online registration)."
>
> Let's talk a bit about terms like "culturomics" and "genome" and the apparent
> need to sound like a scientist (a wacky scientist at that) in order to be
> taken seriously by the media and govt grant dispensers these days.
>
> But first, let me try to cast some doubt on the notion that 52 % of the
> English lexicon (as represented by 4 % of the books ever published in English)
> the majority of words used in English books do not appear in any dictionaries
> or other reference books.  This claim falls so far outside my experience as a
> reader and dictionary user that I want say. Are you kidding?  Maybe their
> computer algorithm is good at searching a word database and very very poor at
> using a dictionary. I suspect that their search algorithm (Harvard's, not
> Google's) fails to allow for any sort of conjugation and inflection, so, for
> example, the word, "indirectly" comes up as "dark matter."  Is this the future
> of high-funded digital humanities?  What can we do about this?
>
> Tom Luxon
> Cheheyl professor and Director
> Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning
> Professor of English
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 2
> Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2010 11:11:44 -0500
> From: "Shoulson, Jeffrey" <jshoulson at mail.as.miami.edu>
> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Culturomics? Genome?
> To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> Cc: Richard Strier <rastrier at midway.uchicago.edu>,      "C. Robertson
>         McClung" <C.Robertson.McClung at dartmouth.edu>,   Aden Evens
>         <Aden.Evens at dartmouth.edu>,     "Mary at koko.richmond.edu"
>         <Mary at koko.richmond.edu>,       Flanagan
> <Mary.Flanagan at dartmouth.edu>,
>         Katharine Conley <Katharine.Conley at dartmouth.edu>
> Message-ID: <81E5497D-961F-49F5-9265-5B2977C99B82 at mail.as.miami.edu>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="Windows-1252"
>
> Thanks for raising this, Tom.  There's a similar article in the NY Times today
> (see this link:http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/17/books/17words.html) and I
> heard a report about it on NPR last night.
>
> I, too, was struck by the apparent impulse to use scientific terms as though
> that were necessary to give the humanities greater credibility and, more
> importantly, fundability.  It should be pointed out, though, that the
> researchers who are quoted in this article and publishing their results are
> mathematicians, not literary scholars or even socio-linguists.
>
> I'm also suspicious of those claims about linguistic novelty and "dark
> matter."
>
> I suppose my view here is that, as with just about any new technology, what
> one CAN do with it far outpaces what one OUGHT to do with it or what genuine
> insights it can provide.  The answer to your cris de coeur, I think, is for
> humanities scholars to learn more about these technologies and to integrate
> them into what we have already been trained to do.  There are some thoughtful
> folks out there who are working in more helpful fashion (two names that
> quickly come to mind are Kathy Rowe and Jeffrey Shandler), but it's no
> surprise that this is how it first gets publicized in the larger media.
>
> Best,
>
> Jeffrey
>
>
>
> 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
> Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies
> University of Pennsylvania
> 420 Walnut Street
> Philadelphia, PA 19106
>
> (o) 215-2381290, ext. 413
>
> jshoulson at miami.edu<mailto:jshoulson at miami.edu>
> www.as.miami.edu/english/people/#jshoulson<http://www.as.miami.edu/english/peo
> ple/#jshoulson>
>
>
>
>
>
> On Dec 17, 2010, at 10:53 AM, Thomas H. Luxon wrote:
>
> Fellow scholars,
>
> I read this in today's Guardian about two "culturomics" researchers at Harvard
> who are using Google data and $ to study the English language "genome":
>
> "In their initial analysis of the database, the team found that around 8,500
> new words enter the English language every year and the lexicon grew by 70%
> between 1950 and 2000. But most of these words do not appear in dictionaries.
> "We estimated that 52% of the English lexicon ? the majority of words used in
> English books ? consist of lexical 'dark matter' undocumented in standard
> references," they wrote in the journal Science (the full paper is available
> with free online registration)."
>
> Let's talk a bit about terms like "culturomics" and "genome" and the apparent
> need to sound like a scientist (a wacky scientist at that) in order to be
> taken seriously by the media and govt grant dispensers these days.
>
> But first, let me try to cast some doubt on the notion that 52 % of the
> English lexicon (as represented by 4 % of the books ever published in English)
> the majority of words used in English books do not appear in any dictionaries
> or other reference books.  This claim falls so far outside my experience as a
> reader and dictionary user that I want say. Are you kidding?  Maybe their
> computer algorithm is good at searching a word database and very very poor at
> using a dictionary. I suspect that their search algorithm (Harvard's, not
> Google's) fails to allow for any sort of conjugation and inflection, so, for
> example, the word, "indirectly" comes up as "dark matter."  Is this the future
> of high-funded digital humanities?  What can we do about this?
>
> Tom Luxon
> Cheheyl professor and Director
> Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning
> Professor of English
> _______________________________________________
> Milton-L mailing list
> Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu<mailto:Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu>
> Manage your list membership and access list archives at
> http://lists.richmond.edu/mailman/listinfo/milton-l
>
> Milton-L web site: http://johnmilton.org/
>
>
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 3
> Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2010 10:21:20 -0600
> From: Sara van den Berg <vandens at slu.edu>
> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Culturomics? Genome?
> To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> Message-ID:
>         <AANLkTi=K32M9kRJHH_wom6YFKnrhaZv96kZL70Rh5A8a at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="windows-1252"
>
> Our colleagues who are professional lexicographers (at G.C. Merriam and
> other companies, as well as the professional scholarly society of
> lexicographers-) spend a great deal of time gathering new words and new
> usages that enter written English.  The late Fred Mish, who was the editor
> at G.C. Merriam, subscribed to the "descriptive" concept of such work.  That
> means he and his group wanted to include whatever is actually used,
> regardless of "rules" of grammar, etc.  I read elsewhere about the Harvard
> researchers, and there was no mention of the ongoing work by lexicographers
> other than the dismissive comment that "most of these words do not appear in
> dictionaries."  The Harvard researchers do not make clear the basis of their
> "estimate."  In a recent issue of the New York Times, William Safire
> eulogized four major lexicographers (including Fred Mish) who died during
> this past year.
>
> I agree with Tom that the uncritical reliance on "Google data" is very
> problematic.
>
> Sara van den Berg
>
> On Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 9:53 AM, Thomas H. Luxon <
> Thomas.H.Luxon at dartmouth.edu> wrote:
>
>> Fellow scholars,
>>
>> I read this in today's Guardian about two "culturomics" researchers at
>> Harvard who are using Google data and $ to study the English language
>> "genome":
>>
>> "In their initial analysis of the database, the team found that around
>> 8,500 new words enter the English language every year and the lexicon grew
>> by 70% between 1950 and 2000. But most of these words do not appear in
>> dictionaries. "We estimated that 52% of the English lexicon ? the majority
>> of words used in English books ? consist of lexical 'dark matter'
>> undocumented in standard references," they wrote in the journal Science (the
>> full paper is available with free online registration)."
>>
>> Let's talk a bit about terms like "culturomics" and "genome" and the
>> apparent need to sound like a scientist (a wacky scientist at that) in order
>> to be taken seriously by the media and govt grant dispensers these days.
>>
>> But first, let me try to cast some doubt on the notion that 52 % of the
>> English lexicon (as represented by 4 % of the books ever published in
>> English) the majority of words used in English books do not appear in any
>> dictionaries or other reference books.  This claim falls so far outside my
>> experience as a reader and dictionary user that I want say. Are you kidding?
>>  Maybe their computer algorithm is good at searching a word database and
>> very very poor at using a dictionary. I suspect that their search algorithm
>> (Harvard's, not Google's) fails to allow for any sort of conjugation and
>> inflection, so, for example, the word, "indirectly" comes up as "dark
>> matter."  Is this the future of high-funded digital humanities?  What can we
>> do about this?
>>
>> Tom Luxon
>> Cheheyl professor and Director
>> Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning
>> Professor of English
>> _______________________________________________
>> Milton-L mailing list
>> Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu
>> Manage your list membership and access list archives at
>> http://lists.richmond.edu/mailman/listinfo/milton-l
>>
>> Milton-L web site: http://johnmilton.org/
>>
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> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 4
> Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2010 10:21:40 -0600
> From: Sara van den Berg <vandens at slu.edu>
> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Culturomics? Genome?
> To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> Message-ID:
>         <AANLkTinboGCVnb5YGiVokpZCPx+kEXyi_2Zt6hKyxSm1 at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="windows-1252"
>
> Our colleagues who are professional lexicographers (at G.C. Merriam and
> other companies, as well as the professional scholarly society of
> lexicographers-) spend a great deal of time gathering new words and new
> usages that enter written English.  The late Fred Mish, who was the editor
> at G.C. Merriam, subscribed to the "descriptive" concept of such work.  That
> means he and his group wanted to include whatever is actually used,
> regardless of "rules" of grammar, etc.  I read elsewhere about the Harvard
> researchers, and there was no mention of the ongoing work by lexicographers
> other than the dismissive comment that "most of these words do not appear in
> dictionaries."  The Harvard researchers do not make clear the basis of their
> "estimate."  In a recent issue of the New York Times, William Safire
> eulogized four major lexicographers (including Fred Mish) who died during
> this past year.
>
> I agree with Tom that the uncritical reliance on "Google data" is very
> problematic.
>
> Sara van den Berg
>
> On Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 9:53 AM, Thomas H. Luxon <
> Thomas.H.Luxon at dartmouth.edu> wrote:
>
>> Fellow scholars,
>>
>> I read this in today's Guardian about two "culturomics" researchers at
>> Harvard who are using Google data and $ to study the English language
>> "genome":
>>
>> "In their initial analysis of the database, the team found that around
>> 8,500 new words enter the English language every year and the lexicon grew
>> by 70% between 1950 and 2000. But most of these words do not appear in
>> dictionaries. "We estimated that 52% of the English lexicon ? the majority
>> of words used in English books ? consist of lexical 'dark matter'
>> undocumented in standard references," they wrote in the journal Science (the
>> full paper is available with free online registration)."
>>
>> Let's talk a bit about terms like "culturomics" and "genome" and the
>> apparent need to sound like a scientist (a wacky scientist at that) in order
>> to be taken seriously by the media and govt grant dispensers these days.
>>
>> But first, let me try to cast some doubt on the notion that 52 % of the
>> English lexicon (as represented by 4 % of the books ever published in
>> English) the majority of words used in English books do not appear in any
>> dictionaries or other reference books.  This claim falls so far outside my
>> experience as a reader and dictionary user that I want say. Are you kidding?
>>  Maybe their computer algorithm is good at searching a word database and
>> very very poor at using a dictionary. I suspect that their search algorithm
>> (Harvard's, not Google's) fails to allow for any sort of conjugation and
>> inflection, so, for example, the word, "indirectly" comes up as "dark
>> matter."  Is this the future of high-funded digital humanities?  What can we
>> do about this?
>>
>> Tom Luxon
>> Cheheyl professor and Director
>> Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning
>> Professor of English
>> _______________________________________________
>> Milton-L mailing list
>> Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu
>> Manage your list membership and access list archives at
>> http://lists.richmond.edu/mailman/listinfo/milton-l
>>
>> Milton-L web site: http://johnmilton.org/
>>
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> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 5
> Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2010 16:31:08 +0000
> From: "Gilliatt, Cynthia Ann - gilliaca" <gilliaca at jmu.edu>
> Subject: [Milton-L] RE: Culturomics? Genome?
> To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> Cc: Richard Strier <rastrier at midway.uchicago.edu>,      "C. Robertson
>         McClung" <C.Robertson.McClung at dartmouth.edu>,   Aden Evens
>         <Aden.Evens at dartmouth.edu>,     "Mary at koko.richmond.edu"
>         <Mary at koko.richmond.edu>,       Flanagan
> <Mary.Flanagan at dartmouth.edu>,
>         Katharine Conley <Katharine.Conley at dartmouth.edu>
> Message-ID:
>         <711BA3688EF1C04E991355A28F3BCFCD08AD7B at IT-EXMB3.ad.jmu.edu>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="Windows-1252"
>
>
> .this in today's Guardian about two "culturomics" researchers at Harvard who
> are using Google data and $ to study the English language "genome":
>
> "In their initial analysis of the database, the team found that around 8,500
> new words enter the English language every year and the lexicon grew by 70%
> between 1950 and 2000. But most of these words do not appear in dictionaries.
> "We estimated that 52% of the English lexicon ? the majority of words used in
> English books ? consist of lexical 'dark matter' undocumented in standard
> references," they wrote in the journal Science (the full paper is available
> with free online registration)."
>
> So how did their computerknow they were words?  And what dictionaries did they
> use?  Did they include proper names?
>
>
> "Let's talk a bit about terms like "culturomics" and "genome" and the apparent
> need to sound like a scientist (a wacky scientist at that) in order to be
> taken seriously by the media and govt grant dispensers these days."
> Good topic.
>
> "But first, let me try to cast some doubt on the notion that 52 % of the
> English lexicon (as represented by 4 % of the books ever published in English)
> the majority of words used in English books do not appear in any dictionaries
> or other reference books."
> Which 4% of books printed in English?  Who chose?  Did they include texts in
> Early Modern English? Or were the texts all 20th/21st c?
>
>
>  "This claim falls so far outside my experience as a reader and dictionary
> user that I want say. Are you kidding?  Maybe their computer algorithm is good
> at searching a word database and very very poor at using a dictionary. I
> suspect that their search algorithm (Harvard's, not Google's) fails to allow
> for any sort of conjugation and inflection, so, for example, the word,
> "indirectly" comes up as "dark matter.""
>
> Dark matter indeed. Well worth discussing.   Thanks.
> C
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 6
> Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2010 11:35:20 -0500
> From: James Rovira <jamesrovira at gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] RE: Culturomics? Genome?
> To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> Message-ID:
>         <AANLkTikNAwp5AfzErDFxF4m3zn5G-zOZ1nJMR+zsfUc0 at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="windows-1252"
>
> I'm guessing quite a few of those 8500 words added every year -- if that
> number is correct -- are technical or field-specific words that should be
> not represented in a normal English language dictionary.  Some of these are
> probably slang words that don't need to be added either, at least not yet.
>
> Jim R
>
> On Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 11:31 AM, Gilliatt, Cynthia Ann - gilliaca <
> gilliaca at jmu.edu> wrote:
>
>>
>> .this in today's Guardian about two "culturomics" researchers at Harvard
>> who are using Google data and $ to study the English language "genome":
>>
>> "In their initial analysis of the database, the team found that around
>> 8,500 new words enter the English language every year and the lexicon grew
>> by 70% between 1950 and 2000. But most of these words do not appear in
>> dictionaries. "We estimated that 52% of the English lexicon ? the majority
>> of words used in English books ? consist of lexical 'dark matter'
>> undocumented in standard references," they wrote in the journal Science (the
>> full paper is available with free online registration)."
>>
>> So how did their computerknow they were words?  And what dictionaries did
>> they use?  Did they include proper names?
>>
>>
>> "Let's talk a bit about terms like "culturomics" and "genome" and the
>> apparent need to sound like a scientist (a wacky scientist at that) in order
>> to be taken seriously by the media and govt grant dispensers these days."
>> Good topic.
>>
>> "But first, let me try to cast some doubt on the notion that 52 % of the
>> English lexicon (as represented by 4 % of the books ever published in
>> English) the majority of words used in English books do not appear in any
>> dictionaries or other reference books."
>> Which 4% of books printed in English?  Who chose?  Did they include texts
>> in  Early Modern English? Or were the texts all 20th/21st c?
>>
>>
>>  "This claim falls so far outside my experience as a reader and dictionary
>> user that I want say. Are you kidding?  Maybe their computer algorithm is
>> good at searching a word database and very very poor at using a dictionary.
>> I suspect that their search algorithm (Harvard's, not Google's) fails to
>> allow for any sort of conjugation and inflection, so, for example, the word,
>> "indirectly" comes up as "dark matter.""
>>
>> Dark matter indeed. Well worth discussing.   Thanks.
>> C
>> _______________________________________________
>> Milton-L mailing list
>> Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu
>> Manage your list membership and access list archives at
>> http://lists.richmond.edu/mailman/listinfo/milton-l
>>
>> Milton-L web site: http://johnmilton.org/
>>
>
>
>
> --
> Dr. James Rovira
> Program Chair of Humanities
> Assistant Professor of English
> Tiffin University
> 155 Miami Street
> Tiffin, OH 44883
> (419) 448-3586
> roviraj at tiffin.edu
> Blake and Kierkegaard: Creation and Anxiety
> http://www.continuumbooks.com
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> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 7
> Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2010 16:39:33 +0000
> From: Nairba Sirrah <nairbasirrah at msn.com>
> Subject: RE: [Milton-L] Re: orthodox doctrine in Milton vs "tasteless"
>         intention
> To: <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> Message-ID: <SNT128-W57D2DB4F8BCC8E131FCACAC1160 at phx.gbl>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
>
>
> Thank you for contributing Professor Lares,
>
> I simply did not list all of Milton's deviations from standard orthodox
> doctrine because I assumed many interested parties on here would have been
> already well-versed with them.
>
> My point essentially, is that the biggest no-no (outside of being an atheist)
> in 17th century England, was putting words in God's mouth that are not in the
> Bible. Not to mention events.
>
> The most liberal view and/or deviation and/or license and/or obscene
> orchestration Milton decided to insert is likely the creation and
> pre-lapsarian mentality and character of Jesus (the Son). He clearly means
> Jesus, so that's the name I'll use.
>
> It is essentially heresy, or just plain wrong, to invent events in the life of
> Jesus. Not to mention having him say things he didn't say, and give him credit
> for phrases and actions of the Old Testament...which the Old Testament clearly
> assigns to God the creator.
>
> Ay, but there's the rub - Christianity over the years morphed Jesus into being
> just as much God as God (if not more so). When you smash theem with your fist,
> which is more disgusting? the chicjen? or the egg?
>
> I suppose my defense of Mr. Lindall should have requested list participants to
> define "tasteless"...my definition of tatseless is: "not having the mental
> sense of artistic taste to taste a thought that would evoke more distaste than
> conceptual satisfaction."
>
> I would sooner have been offended by the literal interpretation of the
> forbidden fruit being an actual piece of fruit than seeing the image of Adam
> and Eve having sex.
>
> As for Milton being in line with the thinking of his time, that is most
> certainly not true. Milton's wild way of telling that story was most
> definitely the first time that had ever been done. The only time anyone's come
> close to altering the story of Jesus to that extent is The Book of Mormon -
> which, again, is likely simply the liberal invention of an 18-year old for the
> sake of "tasteless" manipulation of people who already have no detailed
> knowledge of biblical scripture.
>
> If there's one thing I'm an expert at, it's knowing the difference between
> what the Bible says and what Milton says about what the Bible says. He tries
> to cover his tracks, but the glaring change in the tone of voice, when he
> suddenly inserts the condeming sentences of Genesis in Book X make the whole
> narrative suddenly fall apart. Book 12 is "orthodox" simply by necessity...to
> force it all "to work" even it doesn't work in the slightest of the foggiest.
> At least there's the part with Sin and Death dancing toward earth for comic
> relief.
>
> In all seriousness though, from the moment where Milton has Jesus condemning
> the serpent to crawl on its belly, and for women to have birthing
> pains...there really isn't much point in reading any further, except to
> experience being embarassed for the poet's impossible task of "justifying the
> ways of Milton to man."
>
>> From: Jameela.Lares at usm.edu
>> To: milton-l at lists.richmond.edu
>> Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2010 06:04:29 -0600
>> Subject: RE: [Milton-L] Re: "tasteless" Milton (response)
>>
>> Actually, many of Milton's readings reflect standard thinking. The Bible was
>> thought in his time to be a doctrinally unified, so that one part glossed
>> another. Satan is called "that old serpent, which is the Devil" in Rev. 20:2,
>> at almost the opposite end of the text, which placement has a nice symmetry.
>> And Paradise Lost quotes from all over the Bible. (See especially Sims, The
>> Bible in Milton's Epics, but even Sims's listing does not include
>> everything.)
>>
>> Milton's epic was thought to be completely orthodox until the publication of
>> his De Doctrina Christianity in 1825. Recently, some people have been reading
>> it as fissured. Pendulums swing.
>>
>> You are certainly welcome to your own interpretation of life, the universe,
>> and everything, but you might consider whether you are reading an
>> interpretation into Milton that the text cannot support. In another post, you
>> made certain statements about Christianity: "[Milton] not only changed the
>> facts that govern Christianity, he completely deleted the central virtue: the
>> worth of human decision, our inherant power to change the future. The glory
>> of Christianity is that painful sacrifice is a virtue, and that even a divine
>> being would choose to endure that pain to prove it to all eternity. That we
>> have a choice in life. But Milton's version takes away the choice." That's
>> actually not Christianity, which is rather a statement that man's sins have
>> separated him from God, Christ's sacrifice has permitted us back in, but that
>> we have to accept his government. But Milton's explanation of soteriology in
>> Paradise Lost 12 and elsewhere is orthodox.
>>
>> Jameela Lares
>> Professor of English
>> The University of Southern Mississippi
>> 118 College Drive, #5037
>> Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001
>> 601 266-4319 ofc
>> 601 266-5757 fax
>> ________________________________________
>> From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
>> [milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] On Behalf Of Nairba Sirrah
>> [nairbasirrah at msn.com]
>> Sent: Friday, December 17, 2010 12:59 AM
>> To: milton-l at lists.richmond.edu
>> Subject: RE: [Milton-L] Re: "tasteless" Milton (response)
>>
>> Anyhow, none of any of that is how it reads in any form of Judiasm or
>> Christianity. Much of what Milton did was against the law in 1667. The
>> reality that Paradise Lost was approved for publication by the office of the
>> Bishop of Canterbury is astonishing.
>>
>> Milton basically changed all of God's reasons for doing everything, and made
>> an epic mockery out of every divine and human decision.
>>
>> Essentially saying "if god forsees the future, then there was no chance that
>> Eve had a choice...so why forbid her from doing something fate dictated she
>> wwas going to do anyway."
>>
>> I realize the Pandora's Box this opens. But again, in defense of my point,
>> Milton's reworking of the essential narrative is quantum and, I dare say,
>> wrong. He might as well have just made up a whole new religion. At what point
>> does a Milton emmendation become too ridiculous? Saying Raphael warned them
>> is HUGE. Why not say Adam ate the fruit first?
>>
>> The license Milton took is too far out of bounds. The main reason it's not
>> talked about is hardly anyone ever reads the whole poem.
>>
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