aguibbor at barnard.edu
Thu Oct 24 09:04:23 EDT 2013
Carter, as usual you and Stella are brilliant!!!!
Sent from my iPhone
On Oct 24, 2013, at 2:33 AM, srevard at siue.edu wrote:
> This is Carter Revard again. Stella and I have followed with interest this
> thread. Something that it seems to me (as to her also) has been completely
> ignored, which matters very much, is that Milton did not just invent these
> figures out of his English poet's mind. He drew them, did he not, in part from
> Hebrew/Old Testament/Apocryphal/Talmudic/New Testament/Early Christian
> writings? So it is somewhat sophomoric, jejune, pedantically mistaken, to sniff
> and snuff and whoof (okay, shoot me?) without considering Sin and Death as to
> some extent "found art." Any critical reading of Paradise Lost should consider
> these facts. Milton "found" them, then he re-created them so as to advance the
> action of his epic poem. He used the Greek birth of Athena as one "source" for
> the birth of Sin; this is a part of his epic's reshaping all of Greek myth as
> damned lies put about by demons. He is rewriting, not just referencing, the
> Bible and Homer and EVERY God-damned God-blessed THING.
> Look, Milton knew a great many epic and other versions of Satan--Neil Forsyth
> has done a great deal on a'that and a'that, eh what?--but his Satan is not
> Dante's, nor Tasso's, nor Matthew's, and yet his Satan certainly comes directly
> at one point in Paradise Regained out of 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles, when Jesus
> asks him bluntly about his having tempted David and brought down a plague upon
> Jerusalem and the Israelites. Milton drew on damned near (literally damned?)
> everything from everywhere to create his figures. Audacious is far too timid a
> word to describe Milton's ambitious epic.
> To take another instance of Milton's creating a dramatic character, Comus is not
> allegorical, exactly, but like Sin and Death, has a very complex "parentage."
> So should Comus not be interacting with the "real historical" children of a
> particular noble English family in an actual English town and its castle?
> Just for fun, how many of you want to stomp on Spenser for "mixing" historical
> English figures in with the allegorical ones in The Faery Queene? I can't
> recall whether Sam Johnson ever read that poem, or had anything to say about
> Quoting "Hugh M. RICHMOND" <hmr at berkeley.edu>:
>> I do agree that our generic tastes are more circumstantial than absolute. I
>> always saw Satan as a mere element of human consciousness (an allegorical
>> figure?) not a complete personality, and his associates (and Sin and Death)
>> as aspects or consequences of that frustrated egotism, which we see
>> integrated into full human consciousness only in the psychological
>> progressions of Adam and Eve. This is how they all emerged in our
>> production of "Paradise Lost" (see "John Milton's Drama of 'Paradise Lost'
>> ", Peter Lang, 1992). In our production, the encounter of Satan, Sin and
>> Death was a real shock to the audiences - perhaps Milton's violation of
>> decorum was deliberate. Best wishes, Hugh richmond
>> On Wed, Oct 23, 2013 at 5:38 PM, alan horn <alanshorn at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> We may regard our own standards of taste as natural and correct, but it is
>>> interesting to note how different standards have prevailed at other times.
>>> Addison and Johnson were offended by the mixing of modes and genres they
>>> found in Shakespeare, a judgment which seems peculiar now when such
>>> conventions no longer have the same significance. But overt allegory has
>>> been out of fashion long enough that the allegorical interlude involving
>>> Sin and Death tends to bother contemporary readers of PL as much as it did
>>> certain eighteenth-century critics--we’re not used to THIS kind of mixture.
>>> Registering our distance from the work in this respect is important to do
>>> and can be instructive. But to take the conventions we’re used to for
>>> timeless norms is, it seems to me, to fall into a rather old-fashioned
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