[Milton-L] Milton's Prelapsarian Cosmos

Sara van den Berg vandens at slu.edu
Tue Jan 5 03:50:17 EST 2010


According to the OED, a "civil day" is from midnight to midnight.  A
"natural day" (also called a "solar day") can mean from sunrise to sunrise
or (supported by an 1812 reference) from noon to noon.  The "sidereal day"
takes Aries as its reference point.
Sara van den Berg
On Tue, Jan 5, 2010 at 12:56 AM, Horace Jeffery Hodges <
jefferyhodges at yahoo.com> wrote:

>  In Alastair Fowler's Introduction to *Paradise Lost* (1998), he remarks
> of Milton that:
>
>
>
> "His premise, that the ecliptic and equatorial planes coincide, has not
> been true since the fall. So he has to work out its implications with
> ingenuity reminiscent of science fiction (e.g. iii 555-61; iv 209-16, 354f;
> v 18-25; x 328f) . . . . The geometry of Milton's invented unfallen world is
> elegantly simple -- and exhileratingly easy to visualize. Its day and night
> are always equal, its sun remains constantly in the same sign, and the
> positions of its constellations are easily determined without astrolabe or
> planisphere. There are no variations in solar declination, no equinoctial
> points, no precession, no difference between sidereal, natural, and civil
> days." (page 35)
>
>
>
> Some of this is obvious, and other of it is easy to derive. But some of it
> is not clear to me. How does Fowler know that the "sun remains constantly in
> the same sign"? Is this an inference, or does Milton state this somewhere?
> *PL* 10.329 notes that "the sun in Aries rose," but would it have always
> remained there in an unfallen world? If so, why?
>
>
>
> In a geocentric cosmos, I can see why, based on simplicity, this would
> likely be the case (everything moving around the earth at the same angular
> momentum), but in a heliocentric cosmos, an extra motion would need to be
> imparted to the starry sphere to keep the sun in the same sign as the earth
> revolves around the sun. Or is the earth not revolving at all?
>
>
>
> By the way, what are "natural" and "civil" days? I know sidereal, and I'm
> inferring that a "natural" day means a solar day (is that right?) . . . but
> what's a "civil" day?
>
>
>
> So many questions . . .
>
>
>
> Jeffery Hodges
>
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