[Milton-L] Lesser forms

Steve Fallon sfallon at nd.edu
Wed Oct 30 10:02:29 EDT 2013


Thanks, John, for saving me a longer post.  I was about to point to my old argument, which holds in a nutshell that "Milton uses allegory in his mimetic epic to point to the ontological deficiency of evil.  He reserves allegorical status for the paradoxical embodiments of metaphysical evil, which [following Augustine] is the negation rather than the expression of substance" (Milton among . . . , 193).  I take your point about the good allegorical figures (Graces, Hours, Pan), but I see these as ornamentation, not characters interacting with others in the narrative, even when, as in the case of Pan, pointing to a character.

To the rest of the thread, I wouldn't say that allegory is necessarily lesser than, but it is other than non-allegorical mimetic narrative.

Steve F


On Oct 30, 2013, at 9:10 AM, John K Leonard wrote:

Precisely Steve Fallon's argument in Milton Among the Philosophers (allegory is privative and so befits Augustine`s notion of evil as privation). A plausible if ingenious argument, though it does raise a difficulty as to what we are then to make of the good allegorical figures, for there are a few (most memorably, universal Pan knit with the Graces and the Hours in dance).  No God`s party critic would argue that Pan is a degraded version of Creation, especially if Pan is the Son (as he is in Spenser and Milton`s Nativity Ode). Interestingly, Bentley spared universal Pan even though he wanted to cut the catalogue of gardens that immediately follows.

On 10/30/13, Susan McDonald <sjmcdonaldsk at gmail.com<mailto:sjmcdonaldsk at gmail.com>> wrote:
Having followed this discussion, I wonder whether or not the "lower" mode of allegory used for Sin, Death, and other entities might not be intentional: a lower poetic form for a degraded version of Creation?



Susan McDonald
sjmcdonaldsk at gmail.com<mailto:sjmcdonaldsk at gmail.com>
susan.mcdonald at usask.ca

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