[Milton-L] It's Confirmed!

Mitchell M. Harris mitchell.harris at augie.edu
Wed Jul 20 15:36:25 EDT 2011

Dr. Strier, would you argue that PL is pornographic before the fall?  
I've always thought that Milton was following a conventional patristic  
argument that Augustine made against Jerome in defending the notion of  
prelapsarian sex--thus drawing a middle line between Jerome and  
Jovinian in debates on the role of human sexuality in prelapsarian  
Eden. I would certainly see the sex scene after the fall as being  
pornographic--Milton goes out of his way to make us feel as  
uncomfortable as Adam and Eve feel about the act. But I've always  
thought that the prelapsarian scenes are natural and untitillating,  
which, paradoxically, is provocative in its own right.

	Mitch Harris

On Jul 20, 2011, at 2:13 PM, richard strier wrote:

> Absolutely right about the necessity for non-self-conscious  
> nakedness.  After
> all, PL is one of the great pornographic works of all time.  The  
> audience might
> begin by leering and tittering, but, as at nude beaches, the lack of  
> pretense
> would affect the experience after a while.  And if we titter, so  
> what?  We're fallen,
> they're not (for most of the Eden scenes).  And sometimes, as Milton  
> thought, we
> can transcend our fallenness.

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