PRIVATE Re: [Milton-L] Canaries in the coal mine

John Rumrich rumrich at mail.utexas.edu
Wed Jan 6 15:45:09 EST 2010


oops; and apologies to Carol.

And O by the way, I'm half of Richard's mind that with this inquiry  
our list may be pressing too hard.  Yet the other half remembers that  
birds are not only a staple in epic and biblical scenes of prophecy  
but also very much a part of the imaginative workings of PL.  The  
formal obedience of birds to Adam is comparable to the march of  
obedient angels in heaven, described in terms somewhat reminiscent of  
the account of migration in Book 7.  And Raphael accommodates his  
appearance to that of the birds when he's in their space and though he  
comes to warn the sely humans is intelligent of the coming seasons.

So I'm at least intrigued, quoth the Raven.

John


On Jan 6, 2010, at 2:10 PM, John Rumrich wrote:

> Many thanks, Carol.  My New Year's Resolution is to eliminate at  
> least the "very" before my badness.  But I'm hoping to retain the  
> whole funny thing.
>
> John
>
>
> On Jan 6, 2010, at 10:19 AM, Carol Barton wrote:
>
>> You are a very bad boy, Dr. Rumrich.
>>
>> Very bad, but very funny.
>>
>> Happy New Year.
>>
>>
>> Carol Barton, Ph.D.
>>
>> A THOUGHT FOR TODAY (in the Capitol-area deep freeze):
>>
>> "When I go into the garden with a spade, and dig a bed, I feel such  
>> an exhilaration and health that I discover that I have been  
>> defrauding myself all this time in letting others do for me what I  
>> should have done with my own hands." -Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer  
>> and philosopher (1803-1882)
>>
>> Jan 6, 2010 11:04:52 AM, milton-l at lists.richmond.edu wrote:
>> Fortunately for the theodicy, avian foreknowledge, however  
>> immutable, carries with it not the least impulse or shadow of fate.
>>
>> On the other hand, we are left with the edgy if not blasphemous  
>> implication that bird brains partake of the divine image more than  
>> human brains do.  I have at times suspected as much, at least in my  
>> own case.
>>
>> All best for a new year of seasons and their change,
>>
>> John
>>
>>
>> On Jan 5, 2010, at 9:59 PM, John Leonard 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
>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>> From: James Rovira
>>> To: John Milton Discussion List
>>> 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:
>>>
>>> < 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.
>>>
>>> Jim R
>>>
>>> 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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>>
>>
>>
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