[Milton-L] Tasso, Milton, and James Cameron

John Leonard jleonard at uwo.ca
Wed Jun 22 10:50:45 EDT 2011

Harold's splendid suggestion prompts me to recall some other "gifts" in PL that might glance at "Pandora whom the gods / Endowed with all their gifts".  Two candidates come to mind:

1) Adam expressing thanks for Eve: "fairest this / Of all thy gifts, nor enviest" (8.494).  Many critics since Empson have detected an ominous note in "enviest", and this possibility might be reinforced if "all thy gifts" makes a covert allusion to Pandora.

2) Raphael to Adam: "for God on thee / Abundantly his gifts hath also pour'd" (8.220).  This has exactly the notion of bounty that Harold mentions, and it is not a specific reference to Eve (though it of course includes her), so it might be the kind of thing Dario is looking for.

There are no doubt other suggestive "gifts" in PL.  A concordance would give more.


  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Harold Skulsky 
  To: John Milton Discussion List 
  Sent: Wednesday, June 22, 2011 10:04 AM
  Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Tasso, Milton, and James Cameron

  Hi, John!

  "Milton _did_ quote Pandora in his description of Eve in Bk 4, but not of planet Earth as a whole, in its innocent condition. Or, did he?"

  In a sense, he wouldn't need to, given his capacious hellenism. Tasso, after all,  was simply adopting the Aristophanic epithet for the earth (Gk "pandora" = "all-gifted," hence "bounteous"). This epithet for earth also occurs elsewhere in Greek literature probably familiar to M (Philo, I think, Oppian, and Pseudo-Homer), and also with the same meaning in other contexts . Whether he actually used it, M would surely have noticed the irony of the terrene epithet, given the myth and the Genesis story and his own Hesiodic reference. I wouldn't be surprised if there's an allusion hidden in some nook or cranny of the Eden landscape in PL 4.



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