[Milton-L] "erotic" versus

Julia Walker walker at geneseo.edu
Thu Jul 21 18:19:18 EDT 2011


I would add my YES to those of John and Richard.  But -- and I've gotta add this -- there are some other parts of PL that do give me pause when it comes to that vexed word "pornography."

“[Women] are being turned all the time into objects of display, to be looked at and gazed at and stared at by men.  Yet, in a real sense, women are not there at all.  The parade has nothing to do with woman, everything to do with man. . . .   Women are simply the scenery on to which men project their narcissistic fantasies ."   Laura Mulvey

Andrea Dworkin argues that essential to the gratification felt by the audience in a pornographic film is the “illusion that the women are not controlled by men but are acting freely."   

ouch.

I guess the words "consciously intended" don't frighten me, either.

julia

On Jul 21, 2011, at 5:58 PM, John Leonard wrote:

> I'm with Richard on this.  Of course YES is the right answer.  One would have to be dead not to feel the erotic power of:
> 
>                                               but Eve
>       Undecked, save with herself more lovely fair
>       Than wood-nymph, or the fairest goddess feigned
>       Of three that in Mount Ida naked strove,
>       Stood to entertain her guest . . .
> 
> "Strove" there comes directly from Marlowe's Hero and Leander ("Venus in her naked glory strove / To please") an unabashedly erotic poem that also provided Milton with "naked glory."  A little later we get:
> 
>                               O innocence
>       Deserving Paradise! if ever, then,
>       Then had the sons of God excuse to have been
>       Enamoured at that sight, but in those hearts
>       Love unlibidinous reigned.. . .
> 
> Sister Mary Corcaran in 1944 lifted "Love unlibidinous" from context and quoted as if it were a reference to Adam and Eve.  Others have since done the same and concluded that Adam and Eve do not make love.  This is a crucial misreading.  "Those hearts" are in angelic breasts ("the sons of God").  Human hearts throb.  Adam and Eve are libidinous, and so is Milton, and so are his fit readers.
> 
> John Leonard
> 
> 
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "richard strier" <rastrier at uchicago.edu>
> To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> Sent: Thursday, July 21, 2011 5:20 PM
> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] "erotic" versus
> 
> 
>> 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.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> ---- Original message ----
>>> Date: Thu, 21 Jul 2011 16:59:17 -0400
>>> From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu (on behalf of James Rovira
>> <jamesrovira at gmail.com>)
>>> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] "erotic" versus
>>> To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
>>> 
>>> I believe you when you say that at least you haven't meant to change
>>> your position, Richard.
>>> 
>>> You're missing an important qualification of my definition of
>>> pornography -- it is intended "primarily" if not "only" to provide
>>> "sexual stimulation."
>>> 
>>> Do you really think Milton consciously intended his audience to be
>>> sexually aroused by parts of PL?  I'm not saying that no one can be
>>> aroused by parts of PL.  The question here is about Milton's intent.
>>> I think we need to clearly think about what we mean when we're making
>>> claims about intentionality, however.  These are claims about the
>>> author, not about possible audience responses.
>>> 
>>> Have you ever seen the film The Last Word?  Ray Romano's character has
>>> some funny dialog about the things that arouse him at times and why.
>>> No one would attribute his spontaneous, uncontrolled state of arousal
>>> in the produce aisle to the nature of the objects themselves.  He
>>> didn't, anyway.
>>> 
>>> Jim R
>>> 
>>> On Thu, Jul 21, 2011 at 4:45 PM, richard strier <rastrier at uchicago.edu>
>> wrote:
>>>> 1) I do not think I've changed my position at all. Certainly have not meant
>> to.
>>>> 
>>>> If pornography is defined as "representations that intend to cause erotic
>>>> arousal" (in some part of their audience), I am happy to reiterate the claim
>> that
>>>> PL and many other great works of art are (at least in parts) pornographic.
>>> 
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Milton-L mailing list
>>> Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu
>>> Manage your list membership and access list archives at
>> http://lists.richmond.edu/mailman/listinfo/milton-l
>>> 
>>> Milton-L web site: http://johnmilton.org/
>> 
>> 
>> _______________________________________________
>> Milton-L mailing list
>> Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu
>> Manage your list membership and access list archives at http://lists.richmond.edu/mailman/listinfo/milton-l
>> 
>> Milton-L web site: http://johnmilton.org/
> 
> _______________________________________________
> Milton-L mailing list
> Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu
> Manage your list membership and access list archives at http://lists.richmond.edu/mailman/listinfo/milton-l
> 
> Milton-L web site: http://johnmilton.org/


-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.richmond.edu/pipermail/milton-l/attachments/20110721/8cddb69e/attachment.html


More information about the Milton-L mailing list