[Milton-L] Sin

Brendan Prawdzik brendanprawdzik at gmail.com
Fri Oct 4 12:15:40 EDT 2013


Hi Hannibal and all,

I'm much interested in the way that Sin emerges, almost like a cancer, from
the head of Satan ("in sight of all the Seraphim").  (We see something like
the raising of Pandemonium.) The description of his semi- or unconscious
state is peculiar and suggestive.  Sin as product of *passivity*, of *
non-agency*.  This idea seems related to her status as rigid allegory (and
is of course associated with rigidly anti-feminist exegesis, representing
in her serpentine, grotesque features not only Spenser's Errour but also
the woman-snake tempter who appears in some Fall dramas and paintings).  As
rigid allegory she is self-referential, not a product of active choice and
deliberation, but of an entropic agency in relation to prepackaged,
inflexible "truths" or abstractions.  What *is *"sin" in *Paradise Lost*?
 This idea of fixed self-referentiality recalls Satan's narcissistic love
for her as a product of his own mind (that leapt out sans his control).
 She is the divesture of authority masked as ultimate authority.  She is
complicated!  (Your student should certainly look at Victoria Kahn's essay
on allegory and the sublime in *Paradise Lost*.)

Regards,

Brendan


On Fri, Oct 4, 2013 at 10:41 AM, Hannibal Hamlin
<hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com>wrote:

> Friends and colleagues,
>
> I realize this is a bit of a cheat (I do have ideas of my own), but I'm
> curious to know what you all think might be the essential reading on
> Milton's allegorical Sin in PL. I have a senior undergrad interested in
> writing a thesis on the topic. We had a discussion of Sin on the list not
> too long ago, so many of you may have ideas fresh in mind.
>
> Yours gratefully,
>
> Hannibal
>
>
>
> --
> Hannibal Hamlin
> Associate Professor of English
> Author of *The Bible in Shakespeare*, now available through all good
> bookshops, or direct from Oxford University Press at
> http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199677610.do
> Editor, *Reformation*
> The Ohio State University
> 164 West 17th Ave., 421 Denney Hall
> Columbus, OH 43210-1340
> hamlin.22 at osu.edu/
> hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com
>
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