[Milton-L] Recent discussions

Terrance Lindall tlindall at gmail.com
Fri Dec 17 16:02:19 EST 2010


This is of intelligence and good temper and I agree entirely. We can all
learn from this. I will accommodate the suggestions of Dr. Schwartz while
extending my apologies to any I may have offended with my greeting card. I
have the reputation of being a provocateur in the wider world and I think
that I should not extend it to this professional list of scholars and Milton
lovers whom I do indeed respect. Sincerely, Terrance Lindall

On Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 3:51 PM, Schwartz, Louis <lschwart at richmond.edu>wrote:

> A few brief remarks regarding clarity and courtesy:
>
> 1) I think that some of the scholars and teachers among us ought to have a
> little more patience and generosity with those whose experience of Milton’s
> work comes from enthusiasms and activities outside the academy.
>
> 2) I think that those who come to a list like this from outside the academy
> should be aware of and sensitive to the fact that many of the list’s members
> have dedicated long professional careers to the study of Milton’s life and
> works, the culture and politics of seventeenth century England, and to the
> cultural history of Western Europe.  Some have expertise that ranges more
> widely than that.  Many of these members have published carefully researched
> and closely argued books on these subjects, explaining their importance to a
> full understanding of Milton’s work.  Their conclusions can be argued with
> by anyone who takes the time to consider them with some care.  It would be
> good to address these members, in any case, with this in mind.
>
> 3) I have no problem with people sending Christmas greetings via the list,
> but it would be good if those greetings recognized that there are many list
> members who are not Christians.   Courtesy, I believe, simply requires that
> such greetings should be addressed only to those who are indeed celebrating
> the holiday in question—although they can of course be posted publically.
>  That should be easy enough to do.  Beyond this matter of address, the
> greeter should be free to say whatever he or she wishes to his or her fellow
> Christians—and they can respond however they wish.  For my part, although I
> am not myself a Christian, I wish them all a merry Christmas.  After all,
> many are deeply cherished—and in some cases deeply loved—friends and
> colleagues.  I also can’t help but think of those who are no longer with us
> as I write.
>
> 4) I think questions about #3 above should be carefully separated from
> other questions, like for example, those concerning the artistic value of a
> particular work of visual art that might accompany a Christmas greeting.
>  Again, for my part, I think Terrance’s illustrations of Paradise Lost are
> wonderfully rich, expressive, and responsive works of art, and I’m always
> happy to see them posted.  People can of course disagree about that, but
> that is a separate issue.  I could be mistaken, but I believe that the
> initial, negative reactions to Terrance’s post had to do with the
> assumptions his greeting seemed to be making about the beliefs of those he
> was addressing and not with the content of his painting.
>
> 5) I think that the discussion about “culturomics” and etc. is entirely
> relevant and very interesting.  So now I’m going to go and give it some (I
> hope) careful thought.
>
> All the best to everyone,
>
> Louis
>
> ======================
> Louis Schwartz
> Associate Professor of English
> University of Richmond
> Richmond, VA  23173
> (804) 289-8315
> lschwart at richmond.edu
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