[Milton-L] Thoughts on Milton and Satan?

srevard at siue.edu srevard at siue.edu
Wed Dec 4 17:27:02 EST 2013


What comes out with amazing clarity is not that Milton identifies with Satan,
but that so many commentators on the Milton list do.  Wouldn't that make an
interesting topic for a panel, a paper, even a dissertation:  "'With leer
malign':  just who is really 'of the devil's party,' and do they know it?" Can
we look forward to etchings or lithographs of critics sitting nude in their
Blakean gardens, somewhat like students in the back of a room at the end of a
semester, giggling as they tweet "I just photoshopped Milton Frenchkissing
Satan!" and "Better yet, here's a view of them flying through Hell with Satan
not yet out of Milton's head!" Envy of the smartest guy and best poet in class,
I suppose, has nothing to do with it--Satan might admit that as his motive, but
twitterers probably would not. Milton's Satan admits that he hates the Sun's
beams--but only in a soliloquy, not to his followers.

All in fun of course.


Quoting "Bryson, Michael E" <michael.bryson at csun.edu>:

> John Leonard (on page 549 of *Faithful Laborers* Vol II) renders the quote
> this way (from page 239 of from Tillyard's *Milton* [1930]):
>
> "Had Milton been 'stranded in his own Paradise', Tillyard continues, he
> 'would very soon have eaten the apple on his own responsibility and
> immediately justified the act in a polemical pamphlet.'"
>
> Michael Bryson
>
>
> ________________________________________
> From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
> [milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] On Behalf Of Stephen Buhler
> [sbuhler1 at unl.edu]
> Sent: Wednesday, December 04, 2013 11:04 AM
> To: John Milton Discussion List
> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Thoughts on Milton and Satan?
>
> Frank Kermode credits E. M. W. Tillyard with the remark.  See Kermode, *An
> Appetite for Poetry* (Harvard UP, 1989), p. 76 (in his essay on "Milton in
> Old Age") -- we'll all be digging through Tillyard now!
>
> With every good wish,
>
> Steve
>
> Stephen M. Buhler
> Aaron Douglas Professor and Vice Chair of English
> University of Nebraska-Lincoln
> sbuhler1 at unl.edu
> 402-472-1784
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
> [mailto:milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] On Behalf Of Richard A. Strier
> Sent: Wednesday, December 04, 2013 12:33 PM
> To: John Milton Discussion List
> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Thoughts on Milton and Satan?
>
> This reminds me:  does anyone know who made what I consider the greatest
> remark ever made about JM-- namely, that if he had been in Eden, he would
> have eaten the apple and then written a pamphlet defending have done it.
>
> I've always wanted to quote this, and have done it orally but never in print,
> because I never had a source.  Can anyone help?
>
> RS
>
> ________________________________________
> From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
> [milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] on behalf of Bryson, Michael E
> [michael.bryson at csun.edu]
> Sent: Wednesday, December 04, 2013 1:03 AM
> To: John Milton Discussion List
> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Thoughts on Milton and Satan?
>
> You'll want to look at Neil Forsyth's work--The Satanic Epic (2003) and The
> Old Enemy (1987)--to start with. Others here will have plenty of additional
> suggestions, but Forsyth should be at the top of your list.
>
> Good luck with your research,
>
> Michael Bryson
> ________________________________________
> From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
> [milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] On Behalf Of Heather Moon
> [hthrmn7 at gmail.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, December 03, 2013 10:34 PM
> To: milton-l at lists.richmond.edu
> Subject: [Milton-L] Thoughts on Milton and Satan?
>
> Hello everyone,
> I'm new to the list but I've been doing some research on Milton and his
> connection to the character Satan in Paradise Lost. I've noticed some
> similarities between Milton and his character Satan, mainly that they are
> both ambitious, they both fight against authority, and they're both radicals.
> I also noticed that the views in writing in Satan's speeches are similar so
> some of Milton's early work, particularly in his piece Against Prelaty. I've
> been theorizing that Milton may have been putting his own personality and
> views into his character Satan in order to fight against the church,
> particularly against the prelates and possibly Calvinism. Do you have any
> thoughts on this matter and where I might go for further research?
>
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