[Milton-L] "erotic" versus

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Thu Jul 21 17:38:59 EDT 2011


I've been posting a bit too much today, so this will be my last
response for the day, though I continue to enjoy the discussion.  Many
thanks to Richard and Brendan for their responses to me today.

Richard:

Those words weren't intended to frighten.  While I have indeed
vacillated between the sincere and tongue-in-cheek in my responses to
you, that specific question was not intended to be a "knock-down."
That just doesn't sound like the Milton that I've read.  I would be
interested in reading an argument on behalf of this idea developed out
of a close reading of Milton, however.

Brendan's supposition that Milton was aware of the possibility of
sexual arousal on the part of his readers is very different from
saying that Milton consciously intended to sexually arouse his
readers.  This response is similar to Coleridge's response to Blake's
"Little Girl Lost":  he wasn't worried about a lack of innocence in
the poem, but in the readers.

Brendan:

I can see how these lines may support your point:

Then had the Sons of God excuse to have bin
Enamour'd at that sight; but in those hearts
Love unlibidinous reign'd, nor jealousie
Was understood, the injur'd Lovers Hell.

But they seem to me to be more descriptive of possible angelic
responses to the physical sight of Eve than readerly responses to
Milton's description of her.  I'm not sure what you intended us to get
out of the long quotation from Book VIII, however -- can you
elaborate?

Thank you both again,

Jim R

On Thu, Jul 21, 2011 at 5:20 PM, richard strier <rastrier at uchicago.edu> wrote:
> Just to be clear, and to continue to be "outrageous" (and consistent), my answer
> to your "rhetorical" question (clearly meant to be a knock-down) -- "Do you
> really think Milton consciously intended his audience to be sexually aroused by
> parts of PL?" -- my answer is YES.
>
> I'm afraid that the words "consciously intended" don't frighten me.


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