[Milton-L] Bk 3 and Jeffrey Shoulson's link
jamesrovira at gmail.com
Sun Oct 27 18:20:07 EDT 2013
I don't think I've been very clear. I don't believe that Milton is
obligated to aim for naturalism, psychological or otherwise, nor do I
believe that I am holding Milton up to naturalistic standards in my
responses. At no point am I asking Milton to do anything other than
I just think that if he's going to allegorize, he can do it better than
that. Recognizing the allegorizing tradition that Milton follows is not the
same as saying that he contributed to it particularly well. However far I
follow his allegory of Sin and Death, it never seems to move beyond
simplistic one to one correspondences with Biblical assertions about sin
and death. It doesn't yield anything unique to Milton, any added insight
into these elements of Christian thought. Spenser does better than that in
some of his allegorizing. Character development or added psychological
depth yields insight into the allegory.
If what I'm describing is a flaw, I wouldn't say this flaw was an
accidental one, but more a part of the poem that was written without being
fully developed or conceptualized. It made a few points, served Milton's
purposes, but wasn't important enough to him to develop further than that.
Now Louis's suggestion that Milton's God never intended to keep Satan in
(physical) Hell is plausible, and would put Milton in the fortunate fall
camp. That's a definite position to take, and it resolves some of the
difficulties. I've been assuming Milton isn't in that camp, but I'm not
prepared to to defend that position.
I guess I'd ask Michael Gillum if the point of allegory wasn't to make each
element contribute to readers' understanding of the subject of the allegory?
On Sun, Oct 27, 2013 at 5:15 PM, alan horn <alanshorn at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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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Dr. James Rovira
Associate Professor of English
Blake and Kierkegaard: Creation and Anxiety
Text, Identity, Subjectivity
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