[Milton-L] Mitonoclasts vs Miltonolatres

John Ulreich jcu at email.arizona.edu
Mon Feb 14 13:18:48 EST 2011

Larisa & Harold:
For what it's worth, the first (and almost the last) time I encountered 
the word "Miltonolater" was in an essay by John Wain, the English 
novelist and poet, entitled "Strength and Isolation: Pessimistic Notes 
of a Miltonolater," in /The Living Milton/, edited by Frank Kermode 
(London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1960).
I can't recall having encountered "Miltonoclast" before it was used in 
/Re-membering/ Milton.

I think Bardolatry and Bibliolatry are rather useful coinages; are they 

John Ulreich

On 2/14/2011 7:40 AM, Zámbóné Kocic Larisa wrote:
> I think I should clarify my question. What I am interested in, is not 
> the meaning or the etymology of the two expressions (my apology for 
> asking „stem for”), but the origin, as in who used it first, if it is 
> possible to know at all? An oral tradition infiltrating that of the 
> written, sure, but can one pinpoint when this infiltration took place? 
> The reason I ask this, is that in Remembering Milton, the expression 
> (Miltonoclasts) is in inverted commas suggesting either a citation or 
> a pejorative undertone. I wasn’t quite sure what to think of it, as 
> both expression popped up quite liberally in publications on Milton, 
> and was hoping that someone from this list could help me out. 
> Curiosity killing the cat :)
> Bests,
> Larisa Kocic-Zambo
> *From:* Harold Skulsky [mailto:hskulsky at smith.edu]
> *Sent:* Sunday, February 13, 2011 9:18 PM
> *To:* milton-l at lists.richmond.edu
> *Subject:* Re: [Milton-L] Mitonoclasts vs Miltonolatres
> "Miltonolater" is a barbarism (that is, a modern hybrid coinage, no 
> doubt by an affected pedant of questionable wit or even more 
> questionable hellenicity) combining a non-Gk name and the classical Gk 
> "latris" meaning (in this context) "worshiper," on the analogy of 
> "idolater" (Gk. "eidololatres").
> "Miltonoclast" is a parallel formation combining the same non-Gk name 
> with Gk. "klastes" meaning "breaker," on the analogy of "iconoclast," 
> a Patristic Gk. term meaning "one who shatters [devotional] images."
> The conceit is that a person who meets the former description treats 
> Milton virtually as an object of heathen worship -- less as a god than 
> as the graven image of one; whereas a person who meets the latter 
> description makes it her business to treat Milton as the imperfect 
> being he was.
> For what it's worth, this writer's humble advice about the underlying 
> controversy is to beware of false choices.
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John C. Ulreich
Professor of English

Chair, Dean’s Advisory Committee

College of Humanities

Faculty Senator

(520) 621-5424

Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely

according to conscience, above all other liberties.

John Milton: /Areopagitica/

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