[Milton-L] It's Confirmed!

richard strier rastrier at uchicago.edu
Wed Jul 20 16:19:12 EDT 2011


Not really-- one is suppose to be "highminded" and the other not.  

Great art can be pornographic in my view, but, of course, lots of pornography 
doesn't even aspire to be art.



---- Original message ----
>Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2011 12:55:41 -0700 (PDT)
>From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu (on behalf of Horace Jeffery 
Hodges <jefferyhodges at yahoo.com>)
>Subject: Re: [Milton-L] It's Confirmed!  
>To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
>
>   Would you see any distinction between erotic and
>   pornographic?
>    
>   Jeffery Hodges
>
>     ------------------------------------------------
>
>   From: richard strier <rastrier at uchicago.edu>
>   To: John Milton Discussion List
>   <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
>   Sent: Thu, July 21, 2011 4:51:06 AM
>   Subject: Re: [Milton-L] It's Confirmed!
>   Well, I don't hold the view (which some
>   philosophers--e.g. Roger Scruton) hold
>   that great art can't be erotically stimulating. 
>   Seems like a silly view.  Lots of
>   great Renaissance art is very sexy.  MIlton insists
>   -- surely with his male readers
>   in mind (but not only, of course) -- on Eve's
>   gorgeousness and her absolute
>   nakedness. No reason for us, or her, to feel
>   ashamed, and no reason for us (or
>   her, or Adam) not to feel erotically aroused.
>
>   And, to say something that will surely invite/incite
>   some responses, I think the
>   supposed contrast between the fallen and unfallen
>   sex of A and E to be quite
>   unconvincing.
>
>   And, finally, I think the supposed distinction
>   between nudity and nakedness
>   (Kenneth Clark) also to be bogus (let's all pretend
>   to be very high-minded!).
>
>   ---- Original message ----
>   >Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2011 14:36:25 -0500
>   >From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu (on
>   behalf of "Mitchell M. Harris"
>   <mitchell.harris at augie.edu>)
>   >Subject: Re: [Milton-L] It's Confirmed! 
>   >To: John Milton Discussion List
>   <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
>   >
>   >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.
>   >
>   >Best,
>   >    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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