[Milton-L] Help my foggy brain

Carrol Cox cbcox at ilstu.edu
Fri Mar 30 11:15:17 EDT 2012


Some years ago on this list I argued that neither 'fallen' nor 'unfallen'
language exists: both are artifacts of Milton's plot. That is, there is
nothing in a given speech by Satan or Eve or Abdiel to indicate its 'fallen'
or 'unfallen' nature. It has to be implicitly or explicitly labelled in the
text as such. (The argument is analogous to the argument that there is no
linguistic sign in irony that establishes it as irony.)  Similarly, "fallen"
and "unfallen" behavior are artifacts of the text: neither exist 'in the
world,' where we find, simply, human behavior.

"The Fall" itself then becomes an artifact, not a mimesis of the actual
world itself.  How do we know that eating the apple is a sin (and hence a
Fall from Innocence)? Milton (the narrative) tells us so. Only 'inside' PL
is it a fall, and there it is an arbitrary premise of the poem.

Carrol

-----Original Message-----
From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
[mailto:milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] On Behalf Of John Leonard
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2012 7:41 AM
To: John Milton Discussion List
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Help my foggy brain

It's only fair to add that Empson himself refuted the notion of a Fall 
before the Fall--but then Empson came at the problem in a novel way by 
denying any validity to the notion of a Fall. In other words, Empson pushes 
innocence forward rather than sin back.


John Leonard

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Carrol Cox" <cbcox at ilstu.edu>
To: "'John Milton Discussion List'" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2012 6:19 PM
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Help my foggy brain


> Blake, Shelley, Raleigh, Bell, Empson: All refuted and then refuted again
> and then refuted again and then .....
>
> And still they pop up to be refuted once more, and then ....
>
> Interesting.
>
> Carrol
>
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