[Milton-L] Fallen vs. Unfallen Sex

Hannibal Hamlin hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com
Wed Jul 20 17:51:41 EDT 2011

I think the classic art historical work here is Kenneth Clark's *The Nude: A
Study in Ideal Form*, isn't it? The distinction is interesting but tenuous.
Several years ago I advertized a Milton course with Masaccio's
*Expulsion*from the Brancacci Chapel -- which seemed to me (and stil
does) a powerful
painting and interesting in its contrast with Milton's expulsion scene. It
hadn't occurred to me that the nude Adam and Eve were also naked, but a
student accused me of spreading pornography on campus. I say tomato . . . .


On Wed, Jul 20, 2011 at 5:39 PM, Carol Barton <cbartonphd1 at verizon.net>wrote:

> I think the distinction between fallen and unfallen sex might be
> easier for women to comprehend, Richard (and that's
> not--intentionally--a sexist comment). There is a real distinction for
> most women between making love (unfallen sex, if you will) and the
> sort of wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am engagement that occurs between casual
> partners (or those involved in a retail relationship).
> Nudity and nakedness are different? I had no idea . . . but with a
> heat index of 102F and climbing (around 35C for those who don't
> Fahrenheit) I think I'd welcome being either one . . .
> Best to all,
> Carol Barton
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "richard strier" <rastrier at uchicago.edu>
> To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> Sent: Wednesday, July 20, 2011 3:51 PM
> 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!).
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Hannibal Hamlin
Associate Professor of English
Editor, *Reformation*
Co-curator, *Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King
James Bible*
The Ohio State University
164 West 17th Ave., 421 Denney Hall
Columbus, OH 43210-1340
hamlin.22 at osu.edu/
hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com
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