[Milton-L] seasons in PL
Duran, Angelica A
duran0 at purdue.edu
Wed Jan 6 11:11:33 EST 2010
I am glad for John Leonard’s early attempt to share his thoughts on this amazing passage, and the packed word. Poetry also works effectively when it provides undercurrents of subsidiary meanings that contribute to various motifs. I am reminded that “season” had meant to render food delicious — and the OED has a 1601 use of “seasoning” as a noun referring to food savoring. The OED also reminds us that season is directly related to “a time of year when a plant flourishes, when it blooms or bears fruit.” For me, all these meanings redound on fruition and creativity but also the fruit-related prohibition.
Adios, Angelica Duran
On 1/5/10 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.
----- Original Message -----
From: James Rovira <mailto:jamesrovira at gmail.com>
To: John Milton Discussion List <mailto:milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, January 05, 2010 8:52 PM
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Milton's Prelapsarian Cosmos
Ha...yes, Jeffery, this sentence of yours sums it up:
<<Yesterday, I noted that Milton seems to give Adam and Eve a prelapsarian understanding of the seasons that will characterize only the postlapsarian world, so let us turn unto the seasons that occur throughout Paradise Lost.>>
Seems like it was a theological commonplace that unfallen Eden was in a perpetual Spring, though, and probably still is among Evangelicals. It makes sense for God to say at creation that the stars were given for the seasons. If he said so in front of the the angelic host, that would distribute knowledge of the changes of the seasons before they occurred. I don't recall if Raphael's use of the word "seasons" occurs before or after A and E's first use of it. But we could conceivably reconstruct word of mouth knowledge from God to the angels to human beings.
I'm not completely satisfied as none of these characters would know what they were talking about, except for God, but they seem to.
On Tue, Jan 5, 2010 at 8:39 PM, Horace Jeffery Hodges <jefferyhodges at yahoo.com> wrote:
Thanks, Jim. Those are some of the very passages that I've been puzzling over recently. At the risk of cluttering this listserve and tooting my own horn -- though this actually litters the list less -- here are my recent blog entries on this issue:
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