[Milton-L] Sin

J. Michael Gillum mgillum at ret.unca.edu
Wed Oct 23 10:26:56 EDT 2013


I find the allegory in PL delightful. I like the bond it forges between
Milton and Spenser. I enjoy the comic aspect of doddering Chaos and the
LOL-worthy moment where Satan has to change his tune when addressing Sin.
The allegorical and (to some extent) psychological relations among Sin,
Death, and Satan are rich and interesting.

Yes, there is a surprising shift in the fictional ontology when these
characters are introduced, but surely Greg is right that the essential
unruliness of PL is central to its continuing appeal.

Apparently Sam Johnson thought the only allegory appropriate to epic would
be personified abstraction, as when Rumor spreads the gossip about Dido and
Aeneas. Johnson objected to Sin and Death's building the causeway as action
too physical to be performed by such insubstantial beings. But actually
they are substantial within the fiction of PL. They have bodies and
motives. They are characters with a symbolic aspect rather than figures of
speech. By contrast, if you imagine a movie of the *Aeneid*, Rumor would
not be physical and visible.

A point that interests me is that Chaos the character is very different
from chaos the stuff. He does not embody the qualities of chaos the stuff.
Granted that all texts potentially yield a surplus of meaning, generally I
think Milton tries to control the meanings of his text and to build a
consistent pattern of ideas. In the encounter of Chaos and Satan he seems
deliberately to relinquish that control, as he does in some of the wilder
spic similes.


On Tue, Oct 22, 2013 at 10:39 PM, JD Fleming <jfleming at sfu.ca> wrote:

> Not me. The impropriety is part of the point. Addison misapprehends M's
> creative, almost autodestructive, radicalism. jdf
>
> ------------------------------
> *From: *"Richard A. Strier" <rastrier at uchicago.edu>
>
> *To: *"John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> *Sent: *Tuesday, 22 October, 2013 16:57:11
>
> *Subject: *Re: [Milton-L] Sin
>
> I'm afraid I agree with Addison on the impropriety of the allegory.
>
>  RS
>   ------------------------------
> *From:* milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [
> milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] on behalf of Kevin Donovan [
> Kevin.Donovan at mtsu.edu]
> *Sent:* Tuesday, October 22, 2013 9:45 AM
> *To:* John Milton Discussion List
> *Subject:* Re: [Milton-L] Sin
>
>   And a fine paper it was, Diana! I’ll be drawing on it in my teaching
> this week.
>
>
>
> Kevin J. Donovan
>
> Professor of English
>
> Middle Tennessee State University
>
> MTSU Box 70
>
> Murfreesboro, TN 37132
>
> Phone: 615-898-5898
>
> Fax: 615-494-8744
>
>
>
> *From:* milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [mailto:
> milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] *On Behalf Of *Diana
> *Sent:* Tuesday, October 22, 2013 9:34 AM
> *To:* milton-l at lists.richmond.edu
> *Subject:* Re: [Milton-L] Sin
>
>
>
> I recommend an excellent article by Andrew Escobedo: "Allegorical Agency
> and the Sin of Angels" (ELH 75 (2008).  I just presented an article at
> Murfreesboro that had a section of Sin, but it's not "out" anywhere yet.
>
> Diana T Benet
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Arlene Stiebel <amstiebel at verizon.net>
> To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> Sent: Fri, Oct 4, 2013 12:37 pm
> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Sin
>
> 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
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Milton-L mailing list
> Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu
> Manage your list membership and access list archives at
> http://lists.richmond.edu/mailman/listinfo/milton-l
>
> Milton-L web site: http://johnmilton.org/
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Milton-L mailing list
> Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu
> Manage your list membership and access list archives at
> http://lists.richmond.edu/mailman/listinfo/milton-l
>
> Milton-L web site: http://johnmilton.org/
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
>
> Milton-L mailing list
>
> Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu
>
> Manage your list membership and access list archives at http://lists.richmond.edu/mailman/listinfo/milton-l
>
>
>
> Milton-L web site: http://johnmilton.org/
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Milton-L mailing list
> Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu
> Manage your list membership and access list archives at
> http://lists.richmond.edu/mailman/listinfo/milton-l
>
> Milton-L web site: http://johnmilton.org/
>
>
>
> --
> James Dougal Fleming
> Associate Professor
> Department of English
> Simon Fraser University
> 778-782-4713
>
> "Upstairs was a room for travelers. ‘You know, I shall take it for the
> rest of my life,’ Vasili Ivanovich is reported to have said as soon as he
> had entered it."
> -- Vladimir Nabokov, *Cloud, Castle, Lake*
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Milton-L mailing list
> Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu
> Manage your list membership and access list archives at
> http://lists.richmond.edu/mailman/listinfo/milton-l
>
> Milton-L web site: http://johnmilton.org/
>
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.richmond.edu/pipermail/milton-l/attachments/20131023/89e5adaa/attachment.html>


More information about the Milton-L mailing list