[Milton-L] Nude or Naked?

Salwa Khoddam skhoddam at cox.net
Sun Jul 24 17:30:05 EDT 2011


Dear Miltonists,
I would like to clarify that  I was using"naked" in the literal sense as "unclothed" as was used in this thread.  Also, I think it is not a semantically appropriate adjective that goes with Milton's angels, given the description that we have of them in Book 8 of Pl.  They can't be "naked" because they can't be "clothed." Only fallen angels like Satan and his crew can be described as "clothed" or "naked" because they have lost, and are in the processing of losing, their celestial form.
>From my own experience, the division between pre- and postlapsarian in Milton's cosmos (i.e. post and prelapsarian humans, beasts, Nature, experiences such as love)
makes it confusing for readers.  Marital love, or friendship, even divine love, is different after the fall.  So to read Eve's behavior in Book 4 as "titillating" or "arousing" seems an inappropriate interpretation given that love (physical / spiritual) is an integral part of humans and, in its highest form before the fall, cannot be degraded to "pornography" or "lust." So, Eve's behavior is the quintessential behavior of the Feminine. Of course, we fallen creatures can only think of everything from a postlapsarian viewpoint and so we see things that are not there in the text and find it hard to see what is there.  It is much easier with Dante:  He makes a clear distinction between the human world (albeit mostly of sin) vs. Heaven.  They are as remote from each other as possible.  In his Heaven angels are specks of light, dancing around God in circles, the closer to Him the brighter they become.  No worry about their being "naked" or not, because their world is different from ours. They are like mirrors reflecting God's light. Yes, we can apply  "naked" to human emotions, but not to angels, at least from Milton's view.
Salwa

Salwa Khoddam, Ph.D.
Professor of English, Emerita
Oklahoma City University
2501 N. Blackwelder
OKC, OK  73106
Phone:  405-208-5127
Email:  skhoddam at cox.net
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Horace Jeffery Hodges 
  To: John Milton Discussion List 
  Sent: Sunday, July 24, 2011 3:16 PM
  Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Nude or Naked?


  Thanks for the response, which ought to generate more discussion . . .

  By the way, I'm "Jeffery."

  Jeffery Hodges



------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  From: "Watt, James" <jwatt at butler.edu>
  To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
  Sent: Mon, July 25, 2011 4:57:33 AM
  Subject: RE: [Milton-L] Nude or Naked?

  Jeffrey:

  nude means aesthetic, not erotic
  naked means erotic, not aesthetic
  just as making love means something coextensive
  and fucking means something lonely, but intensive.

  Even as most of this discussion of Milton's eroticism
  has been about as pertinent as [Henry] Miller's aestheticism...

  ...but scholars are human, too and, like their great archetype, are always looking up
  and then fleeing, murmuring; and with them flee the shades of night. (4:1013ff) I
  wanted to add 'scattering footnotes,' but better sense prevailed.

  jim watt
  ________________________________
  From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] on behalf of Horace Jeffery Hodges [jefferyhodges at yahoo.com]
  Sent: Sunday, July 24, 2011 3:37 PM
  To: John Milton Discussion List
  Subject: [Milton-L] Nude or Naked?


  Given our discussion of late, I found this interesting:



  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/22/arts/lucian-freud-adept-portraiture-artist-dies-at-88.html



  "Lucian Freud, Figurative Painter Who Redefined Portraiture, Is Dead at 88"



  William Grimes, New York Times (July 11, 2011)



  This observation is particularly apt:



  "His female subjects in particular seemed not just nude but obtrusively naked."



  Is this a meaningless distinction? Should Grimes have written:



  "His female subjects in particular seemed not just nude but obtrusively nude."



  Or:



  "His female subjects in particular seemed not just naked but obtrusively naked."



  Or do we need a terminological distinction here to express more starkly what is meant?



  Jeffery Hodges

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