[Milton-L] Beauty dissertation (was "no subject?)

Enna Martina eoor at planet.nl
Thu Jan 6 12:17:41 EST 2011


I agree with Carol Barton. Milton's attitude  was the "via media" vs. excess as amply discussed in Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics. This work belonged to Milton's private studies - see The Chronology of Milton's Private Studies by James Holly Hanford.

As for the dissertation on beauty: In Adam's love for Eve, Adam got beauty, if any, into the bargain. I think Ádam's love for Eve was essntially based on passion caused by the awareness of his (mankind's) incompleteness. As an aside: beauty is important in case of selection/rivalry: Eve was the only woman! 

Best regards,

Enna Martina
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Carol Barton 
  To: John Milton Discussion List 
  Sent: Thursday, January 06, 2011 3:52 PM
  Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Beauty dissertation (was "no subject?)


  Jeffery (and Salwa), I'm not so sure that the dichotomy in Milton's mind is beauty vs. ugliness: I think it's more to do with proportion, with balance, with the "via media" vs. excess (as Salwa's comment suggests). The garden grows *too* abundantly; Adam's love for Eve is *too* great to allow him to worship and love God the way he should; Eve's appetite for wisdom is overreaching, instead of "lowly wise." Even their respective proposals for penance (abstinence, suicide, taking on the entire burden of sin oneself) are "too much of a much." There is the sense of excess that permeates the Garden of Acrasia in the _Faerie Queene_ as well--the failure of Temperance--suggestive, I think, of temptation so overwhelming that it obscures right reason.

  By the way--apologies for the posting of a message intended to be private to the list.

  Best to all,

  Carol Barton


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