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

alan horn alanshorn at gmail.com
Sun Oct 27 17:15:36 EDT 2013

>  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.

As long as you recognize that this (in my view misguided) desideratum
arises solely from the historically conditioned ideals you are familiar
with. It has no bearing on the conventions that Milton was working in,
which do not aim at naturalism–psychological or otherwise.

A 1921 article on “Vergil’s Alegory of Fama” notes that a recent editor
(who would be quite at home on this list) complains “that the description
of Fama is so extravagant as to be almost ludicrous, and proceeds to ask
where her numerous ears and tongues are to be found, and how it is possible
for a creature reaching from earth to heaven to sit upon a housetop.” But
of course it is the idea that this figure is to be taken literally that is

Alan Horn
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