[Milton-L] Re: one more remark on"knew not eatingdeath."

Terrance Lindall tlindall at gmail.com
Wed Jul 28 11:52:42 EDT 2010

>From Terrance
A couple of items, one is about EATING and KNOWLEDGE!

1) The Yuko Nii Foundation has printed a brochure for the official offering
of facsimile prints of Terrance Lindall’s Gold Illuminated Paradise Lost
Scroll. All but two of the actual size facsimiles on canvas have been
acquired by major collections.  The slightly smaller paper facsimiles are
still available for the official release date of October 16th 2010.

On October 16th Dr. Robert J. Wickenheiser, the noted Milton scholar and
collector, will give a talk accompanying the first official display of the
original Gold Scroll. Dr. Wickenheiser will also bring many unique books and
objects from his own collection for display.

We thought that you would like to see the “Gold Scroll” brochure and have
posted it on-line as a high resolution PDF file. You will be able to zoom in
to see detail. You can access it here:

2) Also on-line is a sketch for a  proposed Paradise Lost library mural.
over time. Here it is:

On Mon, Jul 26, 2010 at 3:11 PM, Harold Skulsky <hskulsky at smith.edu> wrote:

> When the “knew not eating death”  crux came up a while back, I was
> in a rush but sent in a quick and cryptic suggestion that prompted a
> colleague to ask me offline where I got it from. Actually I got it from
> mysellf. It was a perfectly casual reaction based on years of reading
> stuff in Greek, and also wondering about the phrase in question. My take
> on the conceptual deep structure of the phrase is (I now see clearly)
> speculative, controversial, and probably mistaken. But in for a penny,
> in for a pound. Here the suggestion is in full, for what it’s worth
> — for those with the hardihood and time to stick with it to the
> end.
> Greek syntax reserves a special participial construction for indirect
> discourse after a verb of knowing or feeling: instead of the usual
> infinitive or participial clause in the accusative, e.g.
>       Eve knew not Jack [accusative] to be eating death,
> the infinitive is replaced with an (accusative) participle.
> But what’s especially interesting is the peculiar Greek treatment of
> the knowledge situation in which the knower knows a fact about HERSELF
> – say, that SHE is eating death.
> Here we don’t get a full participial clause at all; instead of
>        She knew not HERSELF [subject] EATING [accusative participle]
> DEATH [predicate],
> we have:
>         She knew not eating [nominative participle without
>         subject] death.
> In short, what follows “knew” is not a clause at all – not a fact
> about the knower. Instead, the verb of knowing behaves like copulative
> “is”; “knew”  couples the knower with her known act or
> property (death-eating). (In Gk: “ouk eide [she knew not] ton thanaton
> [death] esthiousa [eating, nominative case in agreement with
> ‘she’].”). This is not indirect discourse. It’s as direct
> as can be.  It’s perverse. It sticks out like a sore thumb (for a
> newcomer to Attic). What’s going on here?
> What’s going on, I think, is best seen by canceling “not” and
> (once again) considering the successful case of self-knowledge –
> expressed in the now familiar but none the less peculiar construction:
>          She knew not [perverse copula] eating-death [perverse
>          predicate complement in the nominative].
> As presented by the construction, self-awareness DIRECTLY INSERTS THE
> KNOWER into the known situation; she confronts the truth directly, not
> via a concept or chain of concepts (subject-predicate clause expressing
> proposition). Self-knowledge is one of the few examples of radical
> intuition available to human experience – at least on the Greek view
> reflected in the syntax; maybe that’s why we are encouraged to embrace
> self-knowledge by the Apolline injunction on the temple at Delphi. If I
> am not mistaken, its failure in the garden at a crucial moment signals
> one important piece of the loss that gives PL its name.
> In short, I submit that Milton embraces the Greek understanding of
> introspection by embracing the Greek construction. On the other hand,
> the expressive move is a gamble. Does the gamble pay off? I don't know.
> Its success (if I'm right) depends on (a) the reader’s recognition of
> the grecism, or willingness to be reminded of it, and (b) the reader's
> tolerance for the poet's Humpty Dumpty-ish attempt to bend the
> vernacular to his will. Perhaps (a) and (b) are too much to ask.
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