[Milton-L] Sin and other Improprieties

Carrol Cox cbcox at ilstu.edu
Wed Oct 23 15:17:48 EDT 2013


Evaluative language is probably unavoidable when anyone talks about poems or
novels or actors. But I think I agree with the late Northrop Frye that it
should be avoided as much as possible, since (Frye's metaphor) it turn
literary conversation into the daily stock report, as reputations boom and
bust in the literary stock market. (I don't know what the current price is,
but for quite a few decades there was almost a consensus that Chaplin was
the greatest comedian ever, then it changed for a decade or more and Keaton
was 'really' the greatest comedian.) In the present context everyone does
seem interested in talking about Sin, Death, & Chaos. That's an implicit
evaluation. No one, so far as I know, is very interested in talking about
Richard Blackmore's _Prince Arthur_, which makes formal evaluation of the
work sort of redundant.

Carrol




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