[Milton-L] assumptions about the fruit, a question for john leonard

jsavoie at siue.edu jsavoie at siue.edu
Fri Apr 11 11:23:13 EDT 2014


Yes, the delicate phrasing artistically exposes the fallen or, so exquisitely
attuned to the very moment, the falling psychology of the placebo effect.

John Savoie

Quoting John K Leonard <jleonard at uwo.ca>:

> I'll be a sport and answer. I  think Eve thought the forbidden fruit tasted
> different:
>
>                         such delight till then, as seemed,
>    In fruit she never tasted, whether true
>    Or fancied so, through expectation high
>    Of knowledge, nor was godhead from her thought. (9.789-92)
>
> It is Eve's "expectation" of tasting something special that makes the fruit
> "seem" different. I admit that there is an equivocation in the narrator's
> "seemed" and "whether true", but even that can be read as an equivocation as
> to whether these are the best apples (in either of the two  senses that have
> been proposed) that Eve has ever tasted. I do not think that these lines (if
> they are the ones you plan to spring as your "reveal") clinch the case for
> the forbidden tree being a unique specimen of its kind. Even you or I might
> say (and sincerely mean) "that's the best apple I ever tasted."
>
> John Leonard
>
> On 04/11/14, Gregory Machacek <Gregory.Machacek at marist.edu> wrote:
> >   . . . sensing a lull in our recent storm of exchanges . . .
> >
> >
> > May I return to an issue that arose in the course of our discussion?  I had
> made the claim that Satan's "apples" at 9.585 must mean the more general
> "fruits" rather than the species-name for genus malus, because if Eve knew
> the fruit on the forbidden tree as an apple, she would not have needed to be
> brought to the tree itself to know that the fruit the serpent was discussing
> was the one on the forbidden tree.  She could right then have said "Oh, we're
> not allowed to eat apples" (If I'd known my colloquial hypothetical speech
> was to become a subject line for our e-mail exchange, I'd have been more
> careful with my verb choice!)
> >
> >
> > John Leonard rightly pointed out that that argument rested on the
> assumption that "the forbidden tree was the only one of its kind."  He
> indicated that he has "always made the opposite assumption that it was just
> one of many apple trees that was singled out from the others (and other kinds
> of tree) by the simple fact of being prohibited."
> >
> >
> > I have been searching for textual confirmation that one or the other of our
> assumptions is correct, and have shared the various passages from PL that
> seem to me to incline one direction or the other, but have judged each
> passage ultimately inconclusive on the matter.  But now I have found what I
> think is conclusive textual evidence.
> >
> >
> > The reveal will be the more dramatic, though, if John is willing to be a
> sport and answer the following question.
> >
> >
> > Would the apples (as you would have it) on the trees from which Adam and
> Eve may eat have a different taste from the ones on the Tree of the Knowledge
> of Good and Evil?
> >
> >
> > Be careful how you answer.  I see checkmate in two moves.
> >
> >
> > In my glee to think I might triumph over John Leonard in a battle of close
> reading, I almost presume to answer for him, "No, of course not, they're both
> just apples."  But I will let him answer.
> >
> >
> > Greg Machacek
> > Professor of English
> > Marist College
> >
> >
> >
> >
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> >
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> >
> >
>



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