[Milton-L] Re: Oh, he's an undergraduate.

Jameela Lares Jameela.Lares at usm.edu
Mon Dec 20 12:49:45 EST 2010

I like John's suggestion, especially since I often assign lurkdom on this list to undergraduates.  These students sometimes actually post during the semester.  And I've heard from a few old students that they are still lurking away and loving it.

If I may say, I rather think the unusually high emotions we were feeling last week had something to with end of semester exhaustion.

I realize that Miltonists can be nearly as curmudgeonly as Victorianists, but I don't remember a poorly argued paper at Murfreesboro being particularly attacked.  I've always enjoyed my time there.  I hope Julia [Trespassers W]alker will be at the next one. (Any friend of Milne . . . .)

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 John Staines [jdstaines at gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, December 20, 2010 11:32 AM
To: milton-l at lists.richmond.edu
Subject: [Milton-L] Re: Oh, he's an undergraduate.

Dear friends,

I am more a reader than a regular contributor to the list, but given the exchanges of the past week, I thought it important to draw attention to Julia Walker's astute observation.  I am often annoyed that some of the regular contributors to this list seem to forget that not all the list members are Milton scholars.  Sirrah's posturing and defensiveness were at times disgusting (to borrow his word), but I wonder whether the discussion might have gone in a more productive direction had the initial replies to his postings been more like the responses I would expect a skilled teacher to give to an undergraduate.  After all, his underlying claim, that Milton was a heretic, should hardly be surprising to anyone who has read Milton scholarship for the past few decades, yet no one took any time to point out the existence of that scholarship (as one or two other members observed, though they were unfortunately too late to change the course of the exchange).

Here's my suggestion:  Before you jump all over an uninformed comment, please take 30 seconds to run a database check to see whether or not the offending statement was made by a published Milton scholar.  If you find that he or she is not an academic, please don't attack the post in the same way that you might attack a poorly argued paper at Murfreesboro.  Either ignore it, or, if you are so inclined, enter into a respectful dialogue with a student.

Best wishes for the holiday,

John Staines
Associate Professor
Department of English
John Jay College
The City University of New York

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