[Milton-L] Final lines -- an observation

Michelle Zappa michelleazappa at gmail.com
Thu Mar 3 08:47:55 EST 2011


Can I come back on Mario's wonderful reflection:

"Whether the last line is a formula seems to me beside the point. Its power
does not depend on its being original in some way. What we know is that
after the days of mourning and burial, they will go back to fighting again
and to killing, the action that marks the *Iliad *above all others. How men
die, with dignity or not, and how they are killed, honorably or not, matters
immensely, in ways in which the variegated killings in the *Odyssey* or the
mountains flung around in the War in Heaven in *Paradise Lost* simply do
not."

I must admit that I am not that familiar with the *Iliad*, however the
importance given to the way men die in the *Iliad* seems connected to how,
or if, a person is remembered. Reading the scenes of war in heaven from
PLVI, I was struck by 376-85:

       '...the other sort
In might though wondrous and in acts of war,
Nor of renown less eager, yet by doom
Cancelled from heaven and sacred memory,
Nameless in dark oblivion let them dwell.
For strength from truth divided and from just,
Illaudable, naught merits but dispraise
And ignominy, yet to glory aspires
Vainglorious, and through infamy seeks fame:
Therefore eternal silence be their doom.'

Although immortal and therefore unable to obtain a dignified or undignified
physical death, the fallen angels experience the oblivion of spiritual
separation from heaven, and memory. Amidst the grandiose violence between
beings that cannot do each other any actual damage, VI.376-85 demonstrate
the gravity of the situation for the rebellious - in 'eternal silence' they
must continue to exist, but forgotten by heaven as though dead.

Michelle Zappa

On 25 February 2011 22:33, Amy Carleton <carleton.a at husky.neu.edu> wrote:

> Apologies, Judith, I missed that message earlier! I thought I remembered a
> reference to the catalogue of the ships from the 1932 work--but admittedly,
> I have not read it in its entirety for some time.
>
> Best,
> Amy
>
> On Feb 25, 2011, at 4:47 PM, "Judith Herz" <jherz at alcor.concordia.ca>
> wrote:
>
> But as Terry Ross pointed out, the passage comes from"Making, Knowing,
> Judging" published in The Dyers Hand, but first delivered as a lecture in
> 1956.
>
> .----- Original Message -----
>
> *From:* Amy Carleton <carleton.a at husky.neu.edu>
> *To:* John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> *Sent:* Friday, February 25, 2011 11:10 AM
> *Subject:* Re: [Milton-L] Final lines -- an observation
>
> Perhaps The Orators did appear in a later edition (c. 1956), but it first
> appeared in 1932--John R. Boly provides a useful discussion of it in his
> 1981 article "W.H. Auden's The Orators: Portraits of the Artist in the
> Thirties" in Twentieth Century Literature.
>
> Amy
>
>
> On Fri, Feb 25, 2011 at 10:03 AM, Judith Herz < <jherz at alcor.concordia.ca>
> jherz at alcor.concordia.ca> wrote:
>
>>  The date is 1956.  So John's initial respons was (as always) right.
>>
>>
>>  ----- Original Message -----
>> *From:* John Leonard <jleonard at uwo.ca>
>> *To:* John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
>>   *Sent:* Friday, February 25, 2011 9:40 AM
>> *Subject:* Re: [Milton-L] Final lines -- an observation
>>
>> If 1932 is right, the date is interesting, for it precedes Eliot's
>> dismissal of Milton's book eleven catalogue as "a solemn game."  Eliot's
>> essay was published in 1935 (misdated 1936 when it first appeared).  I
>> wonder whether Eliot was thinking of Auden (my initial response, when
>> Hannibal mentioned Auden, was that Auden was thinking of Eliot).  But
>> objections to Milton's catalogues go back at least as far as Johnson..
>>
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> *From:* Amy Carleton <carleton.a at husky.neu.edu>
>> *To:* John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
>> *Sent:* Friday, February 25, 2011 5:44 AM
>> *Subject:* Re: [Milton-L] Final lines -- an observation
>>
>> I believe the Auden piece to which Dr. Hamlin refers is The Orators
>> (1932?).
>>
>>
>> Amy Carleton
>> Northeastern University
>>
>> On Thu, Feb 24, 2011 at 9:04 PM, Jameela Lares < <Jameela.Lares at usm.edu>
>> Jameela.Lares at usm.edu> wrote:
>>
>>> I hope someone will tell us the title of the Auden poem.
>>>
>>> Lord Peter Wimsey also quotes the catalog of the ships in the original
>>> Greek when he is pretending to be a magician.  It's in a short story. I
>>> can't remember that title either.
>>>
>>> Jameela Lares
>>> Professor of English
>>> The University of Southern Mississippi
>>> 118 College Drive, #5037
>>> Hattiesburg, MS  39406-0001
>>> 601 266-4319 ofc
>>> 601 266-5757 fax
>>> ________________________________________
>>> From: <milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu>
>>> milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [<milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu>
>>> milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] On Behalf Of Hannibal Hamlin [<hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com>
>>> hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com]
>>> Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2011 4:02 PM
>>> To: John Milton Discussion List
>>> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Final lines -- an observation
>>>
>>> Someone I found very suggestive and useful when teaching The Iliad some
>>> years back was Gregory Nagy. His The Best of the Achaeans is excellent, and
>>> there's also Homeric Questions, which deals with questions like oral
>>> tradition and myth. I'd also recommend a piece by W.H. Auden (not sure
>>> where, off-hand -- perhaps in The Dyer's Hand? -- someone on the list will
>>> know) in which he makes a wonderful case for relishing the catalogue of the
>>> ships. He says something to the effect that to fail to appreciate this
>>> catalogue is to miss something fundamental about Homer's aesthetic.
>>>
>>> Hannibal
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> On Thu, Feb 24, 2011 at 2:33 PM, Samuel Smith < <SSmith at messiah.edu>
>>> SSmith at messiah.edu<mailto: <SSmith at messiah.edu>SSmith at messiah.edu>>
>>> wrote:
>>> Tony and Jim,
>>>
>>> Both essays are available in a single volume published by the New York
>>> Review of Books, which includes a third essay on Bespaloff's reading by
>>> Hermann Broch.  "War and the Iliad," 2005.
>>>
>>> Samuel
>>>
>>> >>> Tony Demarest < <tonydemarest at hotmail.com>tonydemarest at hotmail.com
>>> <mailto: <tonydemarest at hotmail.com>tonydemarest at hotmail.com>> 2/24/2011
>>> 12:26 PM >>>
>>> Jim-
>>>
>>> If you can, Simone Weil's essay on the Iliad: a Poem of Force is
>>> excellent for revealing a modern appeal; Rachel Bespaloff has written an
>>> essay which may in response to Weil's. Both done during WWII, I think.
>>>
>>> Tony
>>>
>>> ________________________________
>>> Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2011 11:12:57 -0500
>>> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Final lines -- an observation
>>> From: <jamesrovira at gmail.com>jamesrovira at gmail.com<mailto:<jamesrovira at gmail.com>
>>> jamesrovira at gmail.com>
>>> To: <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>milton-l at lists.richmond.edu<mailto:<milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
>>> milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
>>>
>>> On a note related to our very interesting discussion of the Iliad: I'll
>>> be teaching the Iliad for the first time this coming Fall in a Comparative
>>> Mythology course.  Any suggestions for teaching it?  Suggestions for
>>> individual or group activities, recommended approaches, companion texts,
>>> other works to pair with it, etc., would all be appreciated.
>>>
>>> Thank you,
>>>
>>> Jim R
>>>
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>>>
>>> --
>>> Hannibal Hamlin
>>> Associate Professor of English
>>> Editor, Reformation
>>> Organizer, The King James Bible and its Cultural Afterlife
>>> <http://kingjamesbible.osu.edu/>http://kingjamesbible.osu.edu/
>>> The Ohio State University
>>> 164 West 17th Ave., 421 Denney Hall
>>> Columbus, OH 43210-1340
>>> <http://hamlin.22@osu.edu/>hamlin.22 at osu.edu/< <http://hamlin.22>
>>> http://hamlin.22@ <http://osu.edu/>osu.edu/>
>>>  <hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com>hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com<mailto:<hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com>
>>> hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com>
>>>
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