[Milton-L] dating Samson

Schwartz, Louis lschwart at richmond.edu
Fri Dec 6 12:17:59 EST 2013


This is an interesting and still live question.  I don't know when it was composed, but I do think that the decision to include it in the volume with Paradise Regained counts as a (maybe final) act of composition in itself.  The addition turns that volume into more than just a pair of poems, it creates a tension in the mind that can generate considerable "Miltonic" energy.



Louis



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-----Original Message-----
From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [mailto:milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] On Behalf Of William Silverman
Sent: Friday, December 06, 2013 12:06 PM
To: John Milton Discussion List
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] dating Samson



Richard,



I cannot help but agree with you. I had the same thoughts in mind when I read "Samson Agonistes, Milton's Last great work." I almost immediately responded, "Is it?" In fact, this is a topic we just addressed in my current Milton course. It is always fun when students participate in this kind of debate because they come up with the most fascinating suggestions.



Thanks,

William







*

Dr. William John Silverman, Jr.

Assistant Professor of English

Southern Virginia University



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From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu<mailto:milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu> [milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] On Behalf Of Richard A. Strier [rastrier at uchicago.edu]

Sent: Friday, December 06, 2013 11:57 AM

To: John Milton Discussion List

Subject: Re: [Milton-L] dating Samson



Finally I see a topic worthy of this list.  Of course it's lamentable and stupid that the anthologists do not want translations of OE biblical poems, but there's not much to discuss there.  And how one would -- if at all -- use this new little anthology isn't that interesting.  BUT when one reads, "Samson Agonistes, Milton's last great work" -- there's a topic.  I am curious how many scholars on this list do think of SA as Milton's last poem.  Myself, I don't.  I am quite convinced by the arguments of Woodhouse, Worden, and others that the poem was written fairly shortly after the Restoration -- with the execution of the regicides in mind, and with a profound sense that Engand had lost its chance (unless...).  I think M kept it in his desk drawer because it was too hot to publish.  After he had written PR -- which I do think is his last great work -- I think the publisher thought the manuscript too small and asked Mr. M if he had anything with which to bulk it out.  And so w!

e got "to which is added."  M thought he could duke it in under the cover of that much more quietist piece, and as a kind of barely announced supplement.  (Can't prove any of this, but I believe it, and am eager to start the conversation.)



RS

________________________________

From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu<mailto:milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu> [milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] on behalf of James Rovira [jamesrovira at gmail.com]

Sent: Friday, December 06, 2013 8:05 AM

To: John Milton Discussion List

Subject: Re: [Milton-L] New Broadview Anthology of Milton's Poetry



I thought it was interesting that Broadview attempted this anthology, but I've been asking myself the same question: for what course would I purchase this volume?  Maybe a course on poetry and revolution? Early Modern poetry and religion? Biblical reimaginings? But which of these courses wouldn't also want to use at least selections from Paradise Lost?



The copy for this volume on Broadview's website begins with a series of questions that are equally applicable to Paradise Lost:



"In Samson Agonistes, Milton's last great work, he addresses questions that pressed insistently on the imagination of all who were unhappy with the changes wrought by the Restoration. How do we respond to the experience of defeat, and to fears of having been abandoned by the divine? How do we know when our actions accord with divine will, or when they are fueled instead by our fallen desires and weaknesses? At what point do accommodation and compromise with an enemy become a failure of will? What constitutes true heroism? To what extent is violence justified in the cause of freedom?"



http://www.broadviewpress.com/product.php?productid=1763&cat=0&page=1



I think they should have pushed up the page count to about 150 pages and included at least selections from PL.



Jim R





On Fri, Dec 6, 2013 at 7:08 AM, Ross Leasure <trleasure at gmail.com<mailto:trleasure at gmail.com<mailto:trleasure at gmail.com%3cmailto:trleasure at gmail.com>>> wrote:

I would have to agree with Richard.  What course might this figure into?  Why not avail oneself of other more complete collocations of Milton's work?



Ross





On Thu, Dec 5, 2013 at 3:59 PM, James Rovira <jamesrovira at gmail.com<mailto:jamesrovira at gmail.com<mailto:jamesrovira at gmail.com%3cmailto:jamesrovira at gmail.com>>> wrote:

Broadview has an interesting Milton anthology out -- just SA, a few sonnets, and L'Allegro, Il Penseroso, and Lycidas. Very short: just over 100 pages total. Anyone using it?  Any opinions?



http://www.amazon.com/Samson-Agonistes-Other-Poems-Literature/dp/1554812097



Jim



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