[Milton-L] gastroMilton and teen angels

JD Fleming jfleming at sfu.ca
Tue Apr 8 12:07:28 EDT 2014


I'm not sure 7, though gorgeous, so roundly answers the question of animal procreation. (The beauty of this book: in 7, the intellectual Milton rests.) The account of birds starts with eggs; the womb of the four-footed animals is precisely the earth. Do we ever see an actual *opening of the matrix* in PL before the fall? Apart from Adam's temporary one, which, to say the least, is exceptional? 


On Satan's disguises, these are typically, and often absurdly, self-defeating. (Think of the giant, phallic S of 9.) Are there other instances of adolescent angels in the poem? JD Fleming 


(PS As far as "conviction" goes, jumping up and down notwithstanding, I maintain my view that that whole issue is a highly *productive* contradiction in 10. Not, in other words, M nodding.) 

----- Original Message -----

From: "Margaret Thickstun" <mthickst at hamilton.edu> 
To: milton-l at lists.richmond.edu 
Sent: Tuesday, 8 April, 2014 08:51:16 
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] gastroMilton 


Of course, prelapsarian animals procreate: it happens right off when God says "let there be fish and fowl"--they hatch and fledge and Milton can't decide which came first, the chicken or the egg. 

Now, what I want to know is about angelic reproduction: after all, Satan disguises himself as a stripling Cherub: 

And now a stripling Cherube he appeers , 
Not of the prime, yet such as in his face 
Youth smil'd Celestial. (Book 3.636-38) 

That suggests angels of different ages. They must come from somewhere. And I doubt Milton was nodding. He is a very gifted creative writer--when there are continuity errors, such as "conviction to the serpent none belongs". . . . Smash the serpent, he's aware of them and jumps up and down to tell you they aren't there.--Margie 

On 4/8/14 11:35 AM, JD Fleming wrote: 



I think there are some very interesting problems about pre-lapsarian animals that M has not quite dealt with (like those ragged areas of unpainted panel in some of Michelangelo's works). What they eat is one; procreation another. Several of my students this term have been drawn to this passage: 



I was at first as other Beasts that graze 
The trodden Herb, of abject thoughts and low, 
As was my food, nor aught but food discern'd 
Or Sex, and apprehended nothing high: 
Till on a day roaving the field, I chanc'd 
A goodly Tree farr distant to behold 
Loaden with fruit of fairest colours mixt, 
Ruddie and Gold: I nearer drew to gaze; 
When from the boughes a savorie odour blow'n, 
Grateful to appetite, more pleas'd my sense, 
Then smell of sweetest Fenel or the Teats 
Of Ewe or Goat dropping with Milk at Eevn, 
Unsuckt of Lamb or Kid, that tend thir play. 
To satisfie the sharp desire I had 
Of tasting those fair Apples , I resolv'd 
Not to deferr; hunger and thirst at once, 
Powerful perswaders, quick'nd at the scent 
Of that alluring fruit, urg'd me so keene. 
(9.573-588) 


The serpent appears to be omnivorous, which is at least a helpful hint for M's design: Maybe, we can think, prelapsarian beats just grazed on plants (with the ungulates in 4, bedward ruminating). But then there are those herd-teats, dripping with unsucked milk. A suggestion, if not carnivorous, at least non-vegan. In the banquet of 5 there are some "dulcet creams," but only pressed from "sweet kernels": no husbandry here. And where does the milk come from--much less the kids? Adam and Eve as yet have no children; do the animals? JDF 



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-- 
Margaret Thickstun
Jane Watson Irwin Professor of English
Hamilton College
198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323 
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J ames Dougal Fleming 
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Department of English 
Simon Fraser University 
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Burnaby -- British Columbia -- Canada. 



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-- Vladimir Naboko v , " Cloud, Castle, Lake' 


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