[Milton-L] Fallen vs. Unfallen Sex

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Wed Jul 27 04:39:34 EDT 2011

Carrol --

Thank you for the response.  Apparently I've had a hard time communicating
my main point, was that there is a distinction between the erotic and the
pornographic, a distinction that Richard Strier seemed to be erasing at one
point in the discussion.  The pornographic is a species of the erotic, but
the concept of the erotic is not exhausted by the concept of the
pornographic.  Because I make this distinction, I have argued that
identifying the pornographic with the erotic is reductive.  I defined
pornography as seeking only, or primarily, to arouse sexual stimulation
without attempting to achieve any other effect.

Applying this distinction to PL, I never denied the erotic in the poem.  I
only denied that the erotic in PL was pornograpghic.  It is too complex for
pornography and too unfocused on sex, except at rare moments.  That is why I
said that PL and Debbie Does Dallas cannot be said to be attempting the same
effect.  Debbie Does Dallas is pornographic.  PL is more than that.  I think
it takes a seriously dull sensibility to miss the difference.  I'm not
saying there aren't borderline works, just that there is a distinction.
 Discussions of Lucian Freud and Mapplethorpe, on my end, have been
attemplts to refine the distinction and identify the nature of some
borderline works.

Jim R

On Wednesday, July 27, 2011, Carrol Cox <cbcox at ilstu.edu> wrote:
> On 7/25/2011 3:25 PM, James Rovira wrote:
> " I don't see how PL and Debbie Does Dallas can be said
> to be attempting to achieve the same effect.  I don't see this claim
> as supporting any kind of dogmatism, but rather trying to avoid
> reductionism in literary treatments of the erotic."
> This raises problems with what we mean by "erotic." If it (text, painting,
what have you) elicits no 'erotic' response from the reader/viewer, can it
be called erotic? And if it _does_ elicit an erotic response, then there may
still be a line between Debbie & Eve -- but it's getting a bit iffy.
> Carrol
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