[Milton-L] obedience to your creator

cbartonphd1 cbartonphd1 at verizon.net
Fri Apr 11 15:19:52 EDT 2014


Actually,  Jim, they kept PL next to their bibles . . . with nearly equal reverence. 

Best to all, 

Carol Barton
Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S®III

-------- Original message --------
From: James Rovira <jamesrovira at gmail.com> 
Date:04/11/2014  2:54 PM  (GMT-05:00) 
To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu> 
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] obedience to your creator 

Much appreciation for David's post. I've actually been grading papers rather than participating in this discussion, but I did get enough of a break to read his post. I'd like to respond to this:

<< I think Jim can be both right and wrong: right in that the poem may actually mimetically associate itself with its subject, wrong about the level of reality of the characters in the poem. Even autobiography walks the line between truth and invention; its success as autobiography depends more upon the results of the mixture of the two, less on how it upholds the truth alone.>>

I think David may have stated my own position better than I did: I'm not attempting to gauge the "level of reality of characters in the poem" but attempting to place PL within discourse about these characters -- so that, as David said, whatever we think about the characters populating the tradition out of which Milton wrote, we can at least assert that the tradition itself is real.

What further complicates the matter is that Milton himself powerfully shaped that tradition going forward. Did I recall reading in an introduction to an edition of Milton's works that 18thC readers may have been confused at times about what they read in PL and what they read in the Bible? Something like people confusing  the content of Austen novels and their film adaptations? 

This influence means that the God of PL actually becomes the God of the Anglican church at some point, for at least some people, making Milton a massive and either direct or indirect target for dissenters like Blake. 

Jim R 
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