[Milton-L] Fwd: Fallen and unfallen language

JD Fleming jfleming at sfu.ca
Mon Apr 14 17:26:13 EDT 2014

Rerun Mondays: from 2 yrs ago, re: J. Savoie's argument, just now re-introduced to discussion by Margaret Thickstun. JDF 

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

From: "JD Fleming" <jfleming at sfu.ca> 
To: jsavoie at siue.edu 
Cc: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu> 
Sent: Sunday, 1 April, 2012 08:57:42 
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Fallen and unfallen language 

Well, that is certainly an energetic reading. Yet it seems to me with its same question about erotic practices one could profitably turn to (i.a.): 

Hee for God only, shee for God in him: 
His fair large Front and Eye sublime declar'd [ 300 ] 
Absolute rule; and Hyacinthin Locks 
Round from his parted forelock manly hung 
Clustring, but not beneath his shoulders broad: 
Shee as a vail down to the slender waste 
Her unadorned golden tresses wore [ 305 ] 
Disheveld, but in wanton ringlets wav'd 
As the Vine curles her tendrils, which impli'd 
Subjection, but requir'd with gentle sway, 
And by her yielded, by him best receivd, 
Yielded with coy submission, modest pride, [ 310 ] 
And sweet reluctant amorous delay. 

The whole passage can function [as] a Spenserian close-up of genital architecture, lovingly and sensually dwelt on, and apparently placed by the last line under the heading of pre-intercourse foreplay. Do we really want to ask, as it were, whether or not Adam and Eve go there? And if we do ask, is the answer clearly "no"? I don't think so. 

Meanwhile, there is the whole question of conception -- which seems not to have happened before the fall, much though A and E keep talking about it. If anything, this would seem to suggest that the prelapsarian erotic economy is _not_ exclusively directed to the downright way of creation. 

JD Fleming 

----- Original Message ----- 
From: jsavoie at siue.edu 
To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>, "JD Fleming" <jfleming at sfu.ca> 
Cc: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu> 
Sent: Saturday, March 31, 2012 5:25:49 PM 
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Fallen and unfallen language 

My essay recently published in the Milton Quarterly argues for a strong and 
consistent distinction in Milton's representations of sexuality before and 
during/after the fall. 


John Savoie 

Quoting JD Fleming <jfleming at sfu.ca>: 

> Where does the text support that alleged certainty? 
> It seems me (as usual when this issue comes up) that the interesting 
> questions only get going when we recognize how surprisingly _little_ 
> difference there is between Milton's representations of sexuality before and 
> after the fall. 
> JD Fleming 

I do not believe that there is, in fact, in the actions and attitudes, 
any significant difference between fallen and unfallen sex. I am sure 
that there was intended to be such but think that here, as so often in 
the poem, Milton was saved from his conscious intentions by his poetry. 

And I do not believe that there is any difference in language as such 
between before and after the fall. The things A &E say are different 
(A is especially bad in his misogyny) but that is a different matter. 

--Richard Strier 

> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Roy" <royflannagan at gmail.com> 
> To: milton-l at lists.richmond.edu 
> Sent: Saturday, March 31, 2012 2:01:07 PM 
> Subject: [Milton-L] Fallen and unfallen language 
> Must we be as complicated as this? Of course we need well-defined terms and 
> support from Milton's other works for what, say, "hypocrisy" meant to him. 
> But we can say with some certainty that fallen sex is nasty, and that 
> unfallen sex had been beautiful and good. The language of Adam and Eve 
> follows the same pattern. 
> Roy 
SIUE Web Mail 

James Dougal Fleming 
Associate Professor and Undergraduate Chair 
Department of English 
Simon Fraser University 




J ames Dougal Fleming 
Associate Professor 
Department of English 
Simon Fraser University 

Burnaby -- British Columbia -- Canada. 

And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. Rev.22:3. 

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