[Milton-L] Bk 3 and Jeffrey Shoulson's link

Harold Skulsky hskulsky at smith.edu
Sat Oct 26 12:46:07 EDT 2013


I am deep in other pressing tasks, with no time to elaborate, much less
make my case, but I hope that our facile critics of allegory in Milton's
epic face up squarely to three awkward facts:

(a) This ostensibly lame and dissonant narrative resource is a feature of
nearly every classical (ancient Greek and ancient Roman) epic that 17th-c.
schoolboys grew up with and eventually, if they fell victim to *cacoethes
scribendi*, imitated subtly, in meticulous detail, and with enthusiasm. The
irascible Dr. J. comes too late to be a trustworthy cicerone here.

(b) The classical semantics of allegory, like the classical semantics of
metaphor in general (see Aristotle, Hermogenes, Quintilian, Cicero), are
anything but a piece of cake to grasp for people not to the manner
born--and that means the vast majority of us, of scholars who, in their
nonage, never learned to riffle-- casually, comfortably and
idiomatically--through the Greek or Latin pages of Apollonius and Lucan and
Statius and Silius Italicus, not to mention the pages of the
*great*writers of classical epic from its inception on.

(c) When it comes to the validity of an expressive idiom in a work of art,
understanding comes first, and evaluation (including raised eyebrows and
sneers) only much later.

I wish I could be on hand to reply to the inevitable devastating challenges
to (a) (b), and (c), but unfortunately the coal mine awaits.

On Sat, Oct 26, 2013 at 10:11 AM, John K Leonard <jleonard at uwo.ca> wrote:

>  'Advocate for the removal'? I thought that the argument (Richard's and
> yours) was for the inferiority of the Sin and Death episodes, and an
> expression of regret that Milton saw fit to include them. Are you seriously
> arguing (Bentley fashion) for their 'removal' from scholarly editions?
>
> On another (unrelated) topic, I loved the link that Jeffrey Shoulson  just
> posted to that Skyrim-like recreation of early modern London. Thanks,
> Jeffrey!
>
> John Leonard
>
>
> On 10/26/13, *Gregory Machacek *<Gregory.Machacek at marist.edu> wrote:
>
>  Richard didn't claim it for himself.  The Revards first applied it to
> him, and I the sobriquet.
>
> You don't find it courageous to advocate for the removal of a major
> section of the epic?
>
>
>
> Greg Machacek
> Professor of English
> Marist College
>
>
> -----milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu wrote: -----
> To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> From: John K Leonard **
> Sent by: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
> Date: 10/26/2013 09:03AM
> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Bk 3
>
> I meant the sobriquet, Richard, not the argument. You are a fearless
> scholar and critic, but the standards of what passes for courage in the
> academic world are too low for any of us, even your good self, to stake
> claim to 'Couer de Lion'. If any Miltonist could claim that proud honour,
> it could only be that other courageous Richard, 'slashing Bentley'.
>
> On 10/26/13, *"Richard A. Strier" *<rastrier at uchicago.edu> wrote:
>
>     I mean it, John.  The opening speech in Bk 3 solves the ultimate fate
> of humanity.  I'm serious.  Can't be jollied, or whatever this is, out of
> it.
>
>
> ------------------------------
> *From:* milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [
> milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] on behalf of John K Leonard [
> jleonard at uwo.ca]
> *Sent:* Friday, October 25, 2013 6:59 PM
> *To:* John Milton Discussion List
> *Subject:* Re: [Milton-L] Bk 3
>
> On 10/25/13, *"Richard A. Strier" *<rastrier at uchicago.edu> wrote:
>
>
> Coeur de Lion
>
>
>
> Come off it, Richard.
>
>
> John Leonard
>
>
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