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

Jameela Lares Jameela.Lares at usm.edu
Thu Jan 6 19:22:11 EST 2011


I wonder if you are refering to Christopher Grose's article, "The Lydian Airs of 'L'Allegro' and 'Il Penseroso,'" JEGP 83.2 (1984): 183-199 .

Jameela Lares
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The University of Southern Mississippi
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From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] On Behalf Of Campbell, W. Gardner [Gardner_Campbell at baylor.edu]
Sent: Thursday, January 06, 2011 5:30 PM
To: John Milton Discussion List
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Beauty dissertation (was "no subject?)

Where to look indeed! A great list from a great reader. Yet definitive answers are still elusive. Take for example (as in number 3 below) the famous crux toward the end of "L' Allegro." Does Milton endorse the Lydian mode, following Cassiodorus, or does he exercise dramatic irony by having his narrator endorse the Lydian mode that Plato condemned, thus demonstrating to the alert reader the shortcomings of the "L' Allegro" approach to life (assuming we can even agree on what that is, or what it may be at this moment from the narrator's point of view) and the superior way of life demonstrated by Il Penseroso? I've read a note somewhere that insists Milton is doing both at once: endorsing the Cassiodorus position "while subtly recalling the [Platonic-or is it Socratic?] condemnation." There's further uncertainty here, as I recall from my own research wanderings many years ago, in that the musical theorists of  Milton's day were not looking only to Plato or Cassiodorus for evide!

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