[Milton-L] It's Confirmed!

JD Fleming jfleming at sfu.ca
Wed Jul 20 17:56:37 EDT 2011

I have always found the distinction between the erotic and the pornographic, and the moralism that underwrites it, very dubious. jdf 

----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael Gillum" <mgillum at unca.edu>
To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, July 20, 2011 2:15:20 PM
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] It's Confirmed!

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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James Dougal Fleming
Associate Professor
Department of English
Simon Fraser University

"to see what is questionable"

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