[Milton-L] Re prelaps seasons: when is a question a good one?

Judith H. Anderson anders at indiana.edu
Wed Jan 6 18:55:32 EST 2010


I can't resist a two-line postscript in some ways relevant (and in some
irrelevant): "There is continuall Spring, and haruest there / Continuall,
both meeting at one tyme." I mean to invoke only these two lines from the
Garden(s) of Adonis, which, in itself, is neither a static place nor one
without temporal loss.  But these two lines alone momentarily capture what
Milton attempts. The mythic imagination, whether sacred or not, is the
bottom line here?

Judith

-----Original Message-----
From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
[mailto:milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] On Behalf Of richard strier
Sent: Wednesday, January 06, 2010 1:38 PM
To: John Milton Discussion List
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Re prelaps seasons: when is a question a good one?

I guess I think that all this cranking up of brainpower is beside the point 
(though new facts, such as those Carol cited from Moishe, are nice).  I
don't 
think that Milton worried about these details in the way that we are.  I
think that 
he meant for Eden to be a vision of the best possible form of recognizable 
human life.  Recognizable includes all the basic variables of our
experience, I 
think.  As Wittgenstein said (many times), sometimes its good to know when
to 
stop.

I know this won't satisfy those looking for "solutions" to these "problems,"
but 
there it is.

---- Original message ----
>Date: Wed, 6 Jan 2010 10:02:22 -0600
>From: John Rumrich <rumrich at mail.utexas.edu>  
>Subject: [Milton-L] Canaries in the coal mine  
>To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
>
>   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:
>
>       <<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.
>
>       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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