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

jsavoie at siue.edu jsavoie at siue.edu
Sat Oct 26 13:24:48 EDT 2013


No "devastating challenge" here, but I would only qualify point (c) below:
pleasure comes first, then understanding, then evaluation, then all three
interweave, again and again, sometimes one, then another, coming to the surface
above the others.  The first time I seriously read the Sin and Death passage of
BK 2, I looked up from the page "with a wild surmise, Silent upon a peak in
Darien," "surpris'd by Sin," marvelously so.  Were the anti-allegorists really
so offended or left cold upon that first reading?  Do you not recall
experiencing a sense of wonder?

John Savoie

Quoting Harold Skulsky <hskulsky at smith.edu>:

> 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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> > **
> >
> > ------------------------------
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