[Milton-L] Sin

Arlene Stiebel amstiebel at verizon.net
Fri Oct 4 12:37:23 EDT 2013


I'd recommend CS Lewis: A Preface to Paradise Lost as an essential resource.

-- Arlene


On Oct 4, 2013, at 9:15 AM, Brendan Prawdzik <brendanprawdzik at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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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