[Milton-L] Word and Thing

Horace Jeffery Hodges horacejeffery at gmail.com
Wed Oct 9 16:16:48 EDT 2013

Prof. Martin Kuester sent me a copy of his book Milton's Prudent
Ambiguities, which I read and briefly blogged upon:


Reading it led me to an expression of something that has puzzled me:

I am especially interested in . . . what the seventeenth-century reformers
of language meant by a direct correspondence between word and thing. (I
note in passing that the Hebrew term *davar* means both "word" and
"thing.") By "thing," did they mean something like a material object? Or
rather anything at all? Whatever was meant, would the word for a thing be a
name, i.e., a noun? I find this puzzling. While nouns *might* constitute
the largest category among the parts of speech, they are a minority in most
sentences. The previous sentence, for example, has only six nouns out of
nineteen words -- and none of them, for that matter, naming material
objects. Furthermore, words in a sentence have logical and grammatical
relations to each other, a feature ignored by the reformers' emphasis upon
the word-thing correspondence.

I ask these questions in ignorance . . .

Jeffery Hodges

PS Prof. Kuester's book is available at Amazon:


Ewha Womans University
Seoul, South Korea

Novella: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E18KW0K (*The Bottomless Bottle of Beer

 (*The Bottomless Bottle of Beer*)

Blog: http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/ (*Gypsy Scholar*)

Doctoral Thesis: "Food as Synecdoche in the Gospel of John and Gnostic

Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley
M.A., History of Science, U.C. Berkeley
B.A., English Language and Literature, Baylor University

Home Address:

Dr. Sun-Ae Hwang and Dr. Horace Jeffery Hodges
Gunyoung Apt. 102-204
Sangbong-dong 1
Seoul 131-771
South Korea
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