[Milton-L] New Milton Criticism, C. S. Lewis, and Ad Hominem Attacks

David Urban dvu2 at calvin.edu
Mon Nov 26 17:38:22 EST 2012


Dear Fellow Miltonists, 

I recently read the intro to Michael Bryson's *The Atheist Milton* and noted that Michael essentially repeats aspects of Peter Herman's December 2011 MQ (45.4) article, "C. S. Lewis and the New Milton Criticism," in its attempts to respond to the concerns I raised in "Speaking for the Dead" (MQ 45.2, May 2011) about certain New Milton Critics' misrepresentations of C. S. Lewis' *A Preface to "Paradise Lost."* 

I am sheepish about requesting that you read another article of mine, but because both Herman and Bryson choose to respond to my concerns with ad hominem attacks against me and misrepresentations of my college, I am asking Milton-L readers to please read my response to Herman (and, implicitly, Bryson), which appears in the most recent issue (46.3, October 2012) of *Milton Quarterly.*  Here is the link to "The Acolyte's Rejoinder: C. S. Lewis and the New Milton Criticism, Yet Once More": 

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/milt.12002/abstract 

As I note in my essay's conclusion, I invite Herman (and/or Bryson anyone else) to participate with me in a public forum in which we can collegially discuss the aims, successes, and shortcomings of the New Milton Criticism and its critical forebears.  I would like to discuss the substance of the scholarship itself, and I would like to see Herman, Bryson, and their supporters respond to my concerns about their methodology and misrepresentations with something more substantial than they have offered thus far.  (As I also note in my conclusion, I would also endeavor to be humorous enough to cause even my interlocutor[s] to laugh.) 

Finally, both Peter and Michael should know better than to suggest that my concerns about their methodology and misrepresentations can simply be dismissed by referring to my religious beliefs (or in Bryson's words, "a very specific theological agenda") and my place of employment.  My concerns about their methodology and misrepresentations concern me as a scholar who cares about integrity in scholarship.  And I would have those concerns regardless of my institutional affiliation.  To paraphrase Shakespeare's Edmund in *King Lear* I.ii.453-54)  "Fut! I should have been that I am, had the most secular of schools deigned to employ me."   

Humbly yours, 

David 
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