[Milton-L] KJV in NYTimes

Nancy Charlton nbcharlton at comcast.net
Mon Jan 10 17:36:33 EST 2011


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/opinion/09sun3.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha211

This is the URL for a short and gracious appraisal of the place 
the King James Bible holds in literature and culture. The author 
Verlyn Klinkenborg, concludes:  "Its words are almost never 
Latinate, and its rhythms are never hampered by the literalism 
that afflicts other translations."

I've started and erased half a dozen sentences commenting on this 
and trying to bring it deliberately into the purview of Milton 
studies, but the most original thing I can think of, and I don't 
recall it ever being discussed here, is the question of verbal 
antiquity and archaism in Milton's works.

Many in our day are as ill-equipped as Tyndale's ploughboy to 
take on, say, PL XI.385-422, but few would not be touched by 
"...took their solitary way" or "Earth felt the wound." Milton 
was generally aware of himself as the author or narrator or any 
piece, but he was never preoccupied with his own responses. This 
he has in common with the Bible narrations and even where the 
poet pours out his soul and describes  physiological effects ("I 
wept") still focus on the reason ("...when I remembered Zion.")

Would this be worth a discussion, or a study?

Nancy Charlton
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