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

alan horn alanshorn at gmail.com
Sun Oct 27 20:25:16 EDT 2013


Jim,

As I recall, you were the one who initially cited Harold Skulsky’s gloss on
this passage from a couple of years back. I can’t do any better at this
point than quote the relevant portion of it. I would not claim it’s
definitive, and I do not know whether it will satisfy you. But I do think
this is at least the kind of thing that’s intended:

*“Assume the following allegorical premise: SIN IS THE DAMNED SINNER’S
‘JAILER’ (where ‘sin’ is the moral state [obduratio cordis] that rules out
the freedom of the reprobate or the damned). (Here, and in what follows,
the scare quotes set off metaphors.)*

*“What would an ALLEGORICAL reader expect when the sinner ‘induces’ his
‘jailer’ to ‘release’ him from the ‘hell’ he has damned himself to (the
inner hell that is the locus of allegory)?*

*“In the usual moral theology, the answer is as follows: an ALLEGORICAL
READER WOULD EXPECT A TRENCHANT IRONY, DEPENDENT ON THE SAME FAMILY OF
METAPHORS.*

*“The irony: That the sinner will be ‘released’ into a deeper immersion in
the same moral hell he is condemned to by his (by definition irreversible).
When he faces this irony, escaping from a physical hell will be cold
comfort at best and torment at worst (see PL 4).”*
Alan Horn

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