[Milton-L] It's Confirmed!

Michael Gillum mgillum at unca.edu
Wed Jul 20 17:15:20 EDT 2011


Stephen Dedalus defines pornography as something that makes you want to
masturbate--at least that's what I think he meant about* kinesis*. Obviously
this is not a rigorous critical theory, but maybe it makes sense to define
pornography in terms of how it affects typical readers and viewers, allowing
for differences of sexual orientation. Thus, "I know it when I see it."

Milton's description of Adam and Eve asleep, naked and entangled under the
shower of rose petals, is deliciously erotic but not pornographic, and it's
one of the poem's greatest moments. The whole bliss of prelapsarian life is
right there. And then the narrator complicates it with a dark foreshadowing.
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