[Milton-L] seasons in PL

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Tue Jan 5 23:45:35 EST 2010


Thank you, John.  I'm stuck on this too.  The contradiction is too glaring
for me to believe that Milton didn't consider it, especially if he did
indeed take for granted the standard vision of an unfallen Eden that existed
in a perpetual Spring.  So I'm not entirely happy with the options that I'm
able to consider at the moment, which would be either that Milton flatly
contradicted himself, or a simplistic explanation that essentially has
Milton's God create an unfallen world with the assumption of fallenness.
That may be what it is in the end.  This issue could also be as simple as
the fact that we cannot fully envision an unfallen world, ever.  Milton does
seem to voice anxieties about this possibility.

Jim R

On Tue, Jan 5, 2010 at 10:59 PM, John Leonard <jleonard at uwo.ca> wrote:

>  "Seasons" can mean "time of day," and Eve probably does use that sense
> when she speaks of "all seasons and their change" in the same breath as
> "breath of morn."  But it is hard to withhold the sense "seasons of the
> year" in book 7 when Raphael speaks of migrating birds "Intelligent of
> seasons" as they embark on their "annual voyage" (7.427-31).  Twenty
> years ago I tried to rescue these lines for innocence by arguing that
> "seasons" need not have the obvious meaning, but I now find my argument
> desperate and unconvincing.  This is a problematic moment in PL, for the
> "intelligent" birds clearly intuit a coming Fall even before Adam and Eve
> are created.  Maybe Milton just slipped, but it is still a suggestive
> moment.
>
> John Leonard
>
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