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

Horace Jeffery Hodges horacejeffery at gmail.com
Wed Apr 2 14:35:39 EDT 2014


We also smell the fruit, an aroma described as ambrosial. Appelbaum's
analysis made a pretty good case for the peach (and I have also published
on this):

*http://tinyurl.com/n7gujtx <http://tinyurl.com/n7gujtx>*

Go there and search "peach" for more.

And also take a look at the abstract of my article:

http://www.dbpia.co.kr/Journal/ArticleDetail/1274426

Jeffery Hodges


Ewha Womans University
Seoul, South Korea


Novella: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E18KW0K (*The Bottomless Bottle of
Beer*)


Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Bottomless-Bottle-of-Beer/204064649770035
 (*The Bottomless Bottle of Beer*)

Blog: http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/ (*Gypsy Scholar*)


Doctoral Thesis: "Food as Synecdoche in the Gospel of John and Gnostic
Texts"


Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley
M.A., History of Science, U.C. Berkeley
B.A., English Language and Literature, Baylor University


Home Address:


Dr. Sun-Ae Hwang and Dr. Horace Jeffery Hodges
Gunyoung Apt. 102-204
Sangbong-dong 1
Jungnang-gu
Seoul 131-771
South Korea


On Wed, Apr 2, 2014 at 10:30 PM, Gregory Machacek <
Gregory.Machacek at marist.edu> wrote:

> Salwa, you claim that "we have to imagine it as readers before we can
> picture the action involved with it" and in the next breath tell us that
> the poem prevents us from being able to imagine it to the degree we "have
> to" do: "the 'apple' was a generic term for a group of fruits," and
> therefore could be a peach.  If the most precise term Milton gives us for
> imagining the variety of what he elsewhere calls just a "fruit" is itself a
> category word, how do we then do this imagining that we "have to" do?
>
> And do we have to do it?  *Must* "poems as poems" prioritize imagination
> in this way?  I know that presupposition is plausible and deeply ingrained
> in us.  But might a given poem challenge us to adopt the "rational
> viewpoint of God" over the imagination that other poems (and even it
> itself) do routinely expect us to exercise?  Particularly a poem that
> explicitly states that fancy serves "reason as chief," a poem that links
> "imagination" with "aery things," not to mention "vain" Satanic ambitions
> (2.10).
>
> The only "actions involved with"  the fruit that I can remember being
> called on to imagine are plucking and eating (and avoiding), I can picture
> those actions relative to a generic "fruit" as easily as to a generic
> "apple."  (The rapidity of 9.781, "she pluckt, she eat" does seem to me to
> rule out fruits that would need to be peeled, but still rules in many other
> kinds of fruit.)
>
> That is all to say, might the poem be calling on us to check our natural
> desire to know what variety of fruit this is and instead regard it as (as
> God calls it) a fruit, and "know to know no more"?  All in service of
> sustaining the view/resolution that the *only* important thing about it
> is that it has been forbidden.
>
> These may sound like rhetorical questions, but I'm in fact genuinely
> asking them, because, while I do believe what I say about the fruit, I've
> never realized what a profound ramification that has for the operation of
> our imaginations in reading this poem.  So I'd like the list members' help
> in working these thoughts out, even if it means that we're back to one of
> those questions that, as John Leonard pointed out, refuse to stay settled
> and periodically re-emerge on this list.
>
> Greg Machacek
> Professor of English
> Marist College
>
>
> -----milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu wrote: -----
> To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> From: "Salwa Khoddam"
> Sent by: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
> Date: 04/01/2014 08:25PM
> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Under a Platan (PL 4.478)
>
> "The other correct answer is "It doesn't matter."
>
> Well, from the rational viewpoint of God, sure it doen't matter. We don't
> really care what fruit it is. It could be anything. But from the viewpoint
> of the poem as a poem, it does matter to deliberate and ponder what type of
> fruit it is, or what type of tree the platan is, because we have to imagine
> it as readers before we can picture the action involved with it. Natural
> landscape teems with meaning to support themes and  actions. Any poet would
> tell us this. Poetry is more than abstractions. Besides, even when Satan
> says it is an "apple," usage at that time indicates that the "apple" was a
> generic term for a group of fruits, fleshy with a kernel, the peach
> included. Etymology also shows that the peach was called "Persicum malum"
> (with a long a) which literally means "Persian apple," but with a short "a"
> means "evil."  The adjective "downy" (as Jeffery has mentioned) supports
> the opinion that the fruit could  have been a peach. By expurgating the
> role of the imagination in reading literature and privileging theology over
> poetry, we would be truncating the poem, unless one believes that Milton
> was not successful with his images and metaphors, as some critics have said
> (T.S. Eliot?).
> Best,
> Salwa
> Salwa Khoddam PhD
> Professor of English Emerita
> Oklahoma City University
> Author of *Mythopoeic Narnia:
> Memory, Metaphor, and Metamorphoses
> in The Chronicles of Narnia*
> skhoddam at cox.net
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> *From:* Gregory Machacek <Gregory.Machacek at marist.edu>
> *To:* John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> *Sent:* Tuesday, April 01, 2014 2:40 PM
> *Subject:* Re: [Milton-L] Under a Platan (PL 4.478)
>
> John Leonard gives one of the two correct answers to the question "What
> fruit is the forbidden fruit in Paradise Lost?"
>
> The other correct answer is "It doesn't matter."
>
> The Forbidden Fruit is the one that God forbid, and God forbid we read any
> significance into the variety of fruit chosen, since that is a step toward
> assigning some rationale for the choice beyond His will for one restraint.
>
> The first answer is supported by the passages John cites in which Satan
> names the fruit.
> The second answer is perhaps supported by the fact that it is only Satan
> who ever names the fruit.
>
>
>
> Greg Machacek
> Professor of English
> Marist College
>
>
> -----milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu wrote: -----
> To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> From: John K Leonard
> Sent by: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
> Date: 04/01/2014 08:43AM
> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Under a Platan (PL 4.478)
>
>
>
> On 03/31/14, *Stella Revard *<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 *un*exotic 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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