[Milton-L] Under a Platan (PL 4.478)

Stackhouse, Amy AStackhouse at iona.edu
Tue Apr 1 08:54:58 EDT 2014


But Jonson is quite capable of distinguishing fruits in To Penshurst.

On Apr 1, 2014, at 8:53 AM, "Horace Jeffery Hodges" <horacejeffery at gmail.com<mailto:horacejeffery at gmail.com>> wrote:

The word "apple" still had a very broad meaning in the 17th century, including fruits we would never consider apples, and when Eve brings the fruit to Adam, it is described as "downy."

Jeffery Hodges

Ewha Womans University
Seoul, South Korea

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On Tue, Apr 1, 2014 at 9:41 PM, John K Leonard <jleonard at uwo.ca<mailto:jleonard at uwo.ca>> wrote:


On 03/31/14, Stella Revard <srevard at siue.edu<mailto:srevard at siue.edu>> wrote:
.
Of course the PL "platan" tree cannot have been the Tree of Knowledge (had it been, Milton would have made sure we knew that), and I see therefore no way of identifying any fruit it may have borne as that which Eve and Adam so disastrously plucked and
ate.


The question of just what kind of fruit was forbidden in PL comes up periodically on this list, where many people express the view that it must have been something more exotic than a common apple, even though Satan twice uses that very word (9.585, 10.487). Undeterred, Miltonists tell us that Satan is not to be trusted or that "apples" could mean "pineapples." Often forgotten is this line from PR:

Alas how simple, to these cates compared,
Was that crude apple that diverted Eve! (2.348-9)

True, 'crude' there means 'uncooked', but the antithesis with 'cates' suggests that the 'apple' was conspicuously unexotic or (in the narrator's words) 'simple'. I have no opinion about Genesis, but I think that Milton thought of the fruit as an apple.

John Leonard


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