[Milton-L] Final lines -- an observation

Salwa Khoddam skhoddam at cox.net
Thu Mar 3 14:05:29 EST 2011


Very interesting.  What separates the remembered heroes (those who achieve kleos-glory in the afterlife- from the forgotten ones in the Iliad, is not sin as in PL, but lack of skill and courage in battle, the same qualities that Milton denigrates in his work. 

Salwa

Salwa Khoddam, Ph.D.
Professor of English, Emerita
Oklahoma City University
2501 N. Blackwelder
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  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Michelle Zappa 
  To: John Milton Discussion List 
  Sent: Thursday, March 03, 2011 7:47 AM
  Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Final lines -- an observation


  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 
        To: John Milton Discussion List 
        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> wrote:

          The date is 1956.  So John's initial respons was (as always) right.

            ----- Original Message ----- 
            From: John Leonard 
            To: John Milton Discussion List 
            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 
              To: John Milton Discussion List 
              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> 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] On Behalf Of Hannibal Hamlin [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<mailto: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<mailto: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<mailto:jamesrovira at gmail.com>
                To: milton-l at lists.richmond.edu<mailto: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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