[Milton-L] Milton's artistry

Ernst Oor eoor at planet.nl
Wed Jul 21 10:00:24 EDT 2010

Dear List Members,

Some time ago the list members discussed poetry and  art in connection with the various interpretations of some passages in Paradise Lost.

I am reading Kenneth Haynes book English Literature and Ancient Languages  (Oxford University Press, 2003) and on p. 79 of his book Haynes gives a scholarly explanation showing, in my opinion, Milton's artistry.
I quote:

    Take a famous grecism from Paradise Lost. Eve plucks the fruit, eats 

                       Greedily she ingorg'd without restraint,
                       And knew not eating Death:

    Greek may use a participle after verbs of knowledge or perception, 
    and the line, modelled after greek, means 'and knew not that she
    ate Death'. But the unusual syntax is not limited to its Greek model;
    rather it concentrates several meanings in the line: Eve did not know
    (that is, she was ignorant for the last time) while she was eating 
    death; she did not know what she did (she ate death); she did not 
    know the eating, devouring power of death... 
    [further down] 

    His [Milton's] most powerful writing insists on the loss of paradise, to
    prevent paradise even from being imagined, except on condition of its
    imminent loss. Imitations of Greek and Latin syntax and vocabulary
    provided Milton with one means to accomplish this...

Though Haynes' book is not about Milton, his poetry is often discussed and the book may be interesting to  Milton scholars who have not yet read it.

Best regards,

Enna Martina.

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