[Milton-L] Milton-L Digest, Vol 72, Issue 6

Aaron Drucker penandpaper at me.com
Sat Nov 17 12:11:53 EST 2012


I'm a tremendous fan of speculation.  (It's kind of what keeps many of us that are employed in continued employment.)  And I've always been on the fence about Milton's influence on the tradition in toto.  Certainly it appears he codified a lot of (particularly Protestant) tradition of the Garden story, but material art (and, incidentally, the religious traditions from which Milton derived his interpretation of the story) reflects these themes for centuries before and (without significant alteration in the artistic tradition) after Milton's masterpiece.

I guess my real question comes down to which mode and particularly anxious influence Klimt (and similar artists) derive their may depictions of Adam, Eve, "the Snake," &c.  Is it the late-medieval artistic tradition and the Protestant milieu, or is it something more specific (like a great love of Milton's poetry)?  I'm always hesitant to make claims when there is a strong competing tradition within an artist's own wheelhouse.  To me, this is a great excuse to start reading Klimt's letters, diaries, notes, &c.  Great fun!  And a grant to study in (where is Klimt from again?  who has his papers? -- wherever that is!).

Smiles,
AD

On Nov 17, 2012, at 9:00 AM, milton-l-request at lists.richmond.edu wrote:

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> Today's Topics:
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>   1. The Supreme Milton Artist (Dario Rivarossa)
>   2. 1912-2012: A tribute to a great poet, Milton included
>      (Dario Rivarossa)
> 
> 
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> 
> Message: 1
> Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2012 19:26:21 +0100
> From: Dario Rivarossa <dario.rivarossa at gmail.com>
> To: milton-l at lists.richmond.edu
> Subject: [Milton-L] The Supreme Milton Artist
> Message-ID:
> 	<CACO+K=aNMCT70RJvsjs3KKfBpSZ50q3OqXdv-68OtrOUFsVRzw at mail.gmail.com>
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> 
>> Not to be too skeptical, but is there any direct evidence that Klimt ever read Milton?
> 
> Dear Aaron:
> 
> right. In the brief but well documented biography I've just read there
> was no reference to Milton. Didn't read a thicker book (not yet, at
> least).
> 
> Anyway, it wasn't even necessary: Milton modified 'once and for all'
> the way of reading Genesis. As far as I know, his thought/imagery was
> quite widespread among European independent intellectuals in the 19th
> century and around. Basically any artistic group backing
> counterculture: Symbolism, Secession, Decadentism, Mauditism, ... had
> a _Miltonian approach_ to the Bible (see features listed in the
> previous posts).
> 
> But, of course, it would be great to find out that there was an
> explicit link. Something to work on. I conceive the process of
> interpretation as a starting point, not as a 'last word.' That sounds
> quite Miltonian, incidentally ;-)
> 
> Best!
> 
> 
> ------------------------------
> 
> Message: 2
> Date: Sat, 17 Nov 2012 13:41:25 +0100
> From: Dario Rivarossa <dario.rivarossa at gmail.com>
> To: milton-l at lists.richmond.edu
> Subject: [Milton-L] 1912-2012: A tribute to a great poet, Milton
> 	included
> Message-ID:
> 	<CACO+K=YM91P3asx4Xzn+SORh26TK1o-zd1sT6ftCcH9iVtQ=mQ at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
> 
> 2012 is the 100th anniversary of the death of the Italian poet and
> scholar Giovanni Pascoli (b. 1855). One of his most famous verses is
> where he describes Earth as "quest'atomo opaco del Male," this opaque
> atom of Evil. It is the last verse in his poem "X Agosto" (text:
> http://www.fondazionepascoli.it/Poesie/My93.htm), August 10th, dealing
> with his father being murdered on that day in 1867. Italian 'Justice'
> never discovered who the killers were, and especially the person
> behind them - nor did it really try to, for that. Welcome to the Bel
> Paese.
> 
> Well, in this very personal, tragic text, Pascoli 'hid' a refined
> citation that is nearly always (or, always?) skipped by Italian
> scholars and readers since it doesn't belong to our traditional
> culture. Dante too, in Paradiso, had expressed his contempt toward our
> planet 'seen from afar,' but the phrase "opaque atom" cannot be found
> in Italian classics. It comes from John Milton, Paradise Lost,
> beginning of Book VIII:
> 
> . . . this Earth a spot, a graine,
> An atom, . . .
> . . . this opacous Earth, this punctual spot
> . . .
> 
> As to Evil, it refers to the whole subject of Paradise Lost.
> A due tribute to a Great Poet who quotes a Great Poet.
> 
> 
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> End of Milton-L Digest, Vol 72, Issue 6
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