[Milton-L] lapsarian sex

jsavoie at siue.edu jsavoie at siue.edu
Tue Apr 15 10:42:09 EDT 2014


Thanks for your response, Michael.

Raphael's first words to Eve are
"Hail Mother of Mankind, whose fruitful Womb
Shall fill the World more numerous with thy Sons
Than with these various fruits . . ." 4:388-90

Eve's final words--indeed the final spoken words of the epic:
"By mee the Promis'd Seed shall all restore." 12.623

PL is emphatically procreative.  Moreover, with one exception, the eros of PL is
procreative.  On p. 169 of my MQ essay I gather several of the more erotically
aware passages and show how each is closely tied to procreation.  The one
exception?  The lapsarian sex of Bk 9.  Despite ingesting the forbidden fruit
and having passionate sex, Adam and Eve end Bk 9 "fruitless," their argument
and accusation yes, but that extended episode as a whole.

Of course elsewhere Milton beautifully urges other aspects of marriage,
particularly in the divorce tracts.  I don't contest that at all.  Miltonic
marriage is about much more than sex, but when it is about sex, especially in
PL, it is closely tied to procreation except when it notably is not.

I do not insist upon the pun, but it makes one wonder. My argument works without
it, but it works better with the pun, which I ascribe to a proven punster of
extraordinary verbal density and poetic dexterity.

John Savoie

Quoting Michael Gillum <mgillum at unca.edu>:

> What is the basis for claiming that Milton wants sex to be necessarily
> connected with reproduction? Clearly, for him marital sex is part of that
> "conversation" which is the main purpose of marriage, more essential than
> reproduction, although "our Maker bids increase." The contrast he draws in
> the Book 4 passage is between sex that is part of a mutual loving
> commitment and sex that is predatory and self-gratifying.
>
> I agree that the pun on "fallacious" is unintended. On the other hand, the
> implication in Michaelangelo's Temptation seems obvious even if a viewer is
> unaware of MB's sexual orientation. My students aways get it.
>
>
> On Tue, Apr 15, 2014 at 1:09 AM, Horace Jeffery Hodges <
> horacejeffery at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Perhaps "truly" . . . or "really" . . . or "wholly" . . . or "entirely" .
> > . .
> >
> > 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 Tue, Apr 15, 2014 at 2:01 PM, Bob Blair <bblair48 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> >
> >> > it is all simply English.
> >>
> >> With Milton, the adverb I want is not 'simply'.  I'm having trouble
> >> coming up with a single one that satisfies, though.
> >>
> >> Bob Blair
> >> --------------------------------------------
> >> On Mon, 4/14/14, Carrol Cox <cbcox at ilstu.edu> wrote:
> >>
> >>  Subject: Re: [Milton-L] lapsarian sex for Carrol Cox
> >>  To: "'John Milton Discussion List'" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> >>  Date: Monday, April 14, 2014, 8:01 PM
> >>
> >>  (Thanks to all who helped me on
> >>  this.)
> >>
> >>  Whether or not Milton 'intended' this, _after_ the
> >>  suggestion is made it's
> >>  going to be difficult for anyone not to have the possibility
> >>  in mind when
> >>  reading the two passages.
> >>
> >>  As to fallen & unfallen language: _if_ the contrast
> >>  exists at all it has to
> >>  be an arbitrary one: there can be no liguistic signs of
> >>  "fallen" as opposed
> >>  to "unfallen" language: it is all simply English.
> >>
> >>  And under _all_ interpretations there is no way to insist
> >>  Milton offers us
> >>  "True statements about the world" on this matter. I was at a
> >>  conference of
> >>  Science for the People this weekend -- one of the best
> >>  conferences I've ever
> >>  attended. In the panel on public health, one of the speakers
> >>  began by
> >>  contrasting "FREE ABORTION ON DEMAND NOW" (the all caps to
> >>  indicate oral
> >>  emphasis) with the weak and spineless, "[please sir if you
> >>  will] choice
> >>  [someday]."  If PL won't support that, then that is one
> >>  sharp contrast
> >>  between PL & Truth.
> >>
> >>  Note: I don't think making "true statements about the world"
> >>  is relevant to
> >>  the question of literary "worth." (I have to think this
> >>  because of my
> >>  profound disagreement with the world views of all my
> >>  favorite writers.)
> >>  And see in this connection
> >>
> >>  Subject:     Re: [Milton-L] Reply to Prof.
> >>  Fleming on totalization
> >>  Date:     Sun, 30 Nov 2008 09:32:51 -0800
> >>  (PST)
> >>  From:     Kim Maxwell <kim-maxwell at sbcglobal.net>
> >>
> >>  Carrol
> >>
> >>  -----Original Message-----
> >>  From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
> >>  [mailto:milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu]
> >>  On Behalf Of Margaret Thickstun
> >>  Sent: Monday, April 14, 2014 4:17 PM
> >>  To: milton-l at lists.richmond.edu
> >>  Subject: Re: [Milton-L] lapsarian sex for Carrol Cox
> >>
> >>  I didn't want to believe it either, but I really think
> >>  people should read
> >>  the article before leaping to conclusions.
> >>
> >>  On 4/14/14 5:03 PM, Richard A. Strier wrote:
> >>
> >>
> >>      I don't believe that Milton was using
> >>  that pun.
> >>
> >>
> >>      RS
> >>  ________________________________
> >>
> >>      From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
> >>  [milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu]
> >>  on behalf of James Rovira
> >>  [jamesrovira at gmail.com]
> >>      Sent: Monday, April 14, 2014 2:54 PM
> >>      To: John Milton Discussion List
> >>      Subject: Re: [Milton-L] lapsarian sex for
> >>  Carrol Cox
> >>
> >>
> >>      Ha... o God. That's too much. I'm not
> >>  buying it, but I'm glad he
> >>  wrote the article, and I'm going to have to find it and read
> >>  it now.
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>  --
> >>  Margaret Thickstun
> >>  Jane Watson Irwin Professor of English
> >>  Hamilton College
> >>  198 College Hill Road
> >>  Clinton, NY 13323
> >>
> >>
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> >
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