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

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Sun Oct 27 16:14:00 EDT 2013


Alan -- 

Thank you for the response. I'm actually starting from that assumption and wanting the novelistic development of characters to serve, extend, and nuance the allegory, not to take its place.

Jim R

> On Oct 27, 2013, at 3:44 PM, alan horn <alanshorn at gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> Jim R, 
> 
> Please consider the idea that that the allegorical figures of Sin and Death are not characters of the same order as Satan or Adam and Eve. Compare the figure of Fama in the Aeneid. Your assumption that such figures should be novelistically developed, naturalistic characters rather than mere personifications of abstract notions is based, I believe, on a misreading of the allegorical mode MIlton is employing here. These figures and their actions are in fact nothing but elaborate metaphors for the reader to decode. This convention is indeed strange to contemporary readers who have inherited the Romantic distaste for overt allegory as schematic and artificial. But just because something seems weird to you doesn’t necessarily make it unsuccessful in its own terms.
> 
> While I generally have little sympathy for the views of C. S. Lewis, I share his hope, quoted in a recent LRB article, that the study of the literature of the past can “lift people out of (so to speak) their chronological provincialism by plunging them into the thought and feeling of ages other than their own.”
> 
> Alan Horn
> 
> 
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