[Milton-L] lapsarian sex

Carol Barton, Ph.D., CPCM cbartonphd1 at verizon.net
Tue Apr 15 12:41:45 EDT 2014


Yes, Oydin. 

Milton was a master craftsman with respect to the use of language--several languages, in fact--and I think if he'd intended "fallacious" to resonate "fellatio," he would have been less subtle about it. "False" is an important word in Paradise Lost:

On th' other side up rose
Belial, in act more graceful and humane;
A fairer person lost not Heav'n; he seemd [ 110 ]
For dignity compos'd and high exploit:
But all was false and hollow; though his Tongue
Dropt Manna, and could make the worse appear
The better reason, to perplex and dash
Maturest Counsels . . .   (Book 2)

the hollow Abyss
Heard farr and wide, and all the host of Hell
With deafning shout, return'd them loud acclaim. [ 520 ]
Thence more at ease thir minds and somwhat rais'd
By false presumptuous hope, the ranged powers
Disband, and wandring, each his several way
Pursues, as inclination or sad choice
Leads him perplext, where he may likeliest find [ 525 ]
Truce to his restless thoughts, and entertain
The irksom hours, till his great Chief return. (Book 2)

Others apart sat on a Hill retir'd,
In thoughts more elevate, and reason'd high
Of Providence, Foreknowledge, Will and Fate,
Fixt Fate, free will, foreknowledg absolute, [ 560 ]
And found no end, in wandring mazes lost.
Of good and evil much they argu'd then,
Of happiness and final misery,
Passion and Apathie, and glory and shame,
Vain wisdom all, and false Philosophie: [ 565 ]
Yet with a pleasing sorcerie could charm
Pain for a while or anguish, and excite
Fallacious hope, or arm th' obdured brest
With stubborn patience as with triple steel (the passage you quoted, Book 2) 

And reck'n'st thou thy self with Spirits of Heav'n,
Hell-doom'd, and breath'st defiance here and scorn
Where I reign King, and to enrage thee more,
Thy King and Lord? Back to thy punishment,
False fugitive, and to thy speed add wings, [ 700 ]
Least with a whip of Scorpions I pursue
Thy lingring, or with one stroke of this Dart
Strange horror seise thee, and pangs unfelt before. (Book 2)

Nor thou his malice and false guile contemn;
Suttle he needs must be, who could seduce
Angels nor think superfluous others aid. (Book 9) 

onely our Foe
Tempting affronts us with his foul esteem
Of our integritie: his foul esteeme
Sticks no dishonor on our Front, but turns [ 330 ]
Foul on himself; then wherefore shund or feard
By us? who rather double honour gaine
>From his surmise prov'd false, find peace within,
Favour from Heav'n, our witness from th' event.
And what is Faith, Love, Vertue unassaid [ 335 ]
Alone, without exterior help sustaind? (Book 9)

But God left free the Will, for what obeyes
Reason, is free, and Reason he made right
But bid her well beware, and still erect,
Least by some faire appeering good surpris'd
She dictate false, and misinforme the Will [ 355 ]
To do what God expresly hath forbid,
Not then mistrust, but tender love enjoynes,
That I should mind thee oft, and mind thou me. (Book 9)

As with new Wine intoxicated both
They swim in mirth, and fansie that they feel
Divinitie within them breeding wings [ 1010 ]
Wherewith to scorne the Earth: but that false Fruit
Farr other operation first displaid,
Carnal desire enflaming, hee on Eve
Began to cast lascivious Eyes, she him
As wantonly repaid; in Lust they burne: [ 1015 ]
Till Adam thus 'gan Eve to dalliance move,  (Book 9)

O Eve, in evil hour thou didst give eare
To that false Worm, of whomsoever taught
To counterfet Mans voice, true in our Fall,
False in our promis'd Rising;  (Book 9)

O Eve, in evil hour thou didst give eare
To that false Worm, of whomsoever taught
To counterfet Mans voice, true in our Fall,
False in our promis'd Rising; since our Eyes [ 1070 ]
Op'nd we find indeed, and find we know
Both Good and Evil, Good lost, and Evil got,
Bad Fruit of Knowledge, if this be to know (Book 9)

These are not the only uses of "false" in Paradise Lost (just some of the most significant), all of which occur in the same context as its synonym, "fallacious." I see no reason to believe that Milton intended anything but that connection--except perhaps the one you suggest. As others have said, sex for its own sake is quite fallen enough, given Milton's vision of happy marriage in DDD.

Best to all, 

Carol Barton

From: Uzakova, Oydin Yashinova 
Sent: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 11:45 AM
To: John Milton Discussion List 
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] lapsarian sex


Milton uses the word "fallacious" only two times in the poem, but both times to describe the lapsarian effect--the first time it appears as "excite/Fallacious hope" (2.567-68) in the fallen angels.  In this first instance, not unlike in "the force of that fallacious fruit" (9.1046) that "inmost powers/Made err" (9.1048-49), it is also connected with "a pleasing sorcery" (2.566) and is a result of "Vain wisdom all, and false philosophy" (2.565).  




Considering such similarity of both occurrences and the fallen condition of both angels and Adam and Eve, I believe that Milton's use of "fallacious" is punning more on the words "fall" and "fallen" than anything else (if punning at all). 









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From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu <milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu> on behalf of Richard A. Strier <rastrier at uchicago.edu>
Sent: Monday, April 14, 2014 4:03 PM
To: John Milton Discussion List
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] lapsarian sex for Carrol Cox 

I don't believe that Milton was using that pun.   



RS 

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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.  


Does he draw in then-contemporary discourse about non-reproductive sex (which would include oral sex)? We even see some shots taken at this in Mel Gibson's Apocalypto. 


Jim R



On Mon, Apr 14, 2014 at 3:50 PM, Margaret Thickstun <mthickst at hamilton.edu> wrote:

  Okay, here is the upshot of John Savoie's MQ article: 

  "Simply put, before the fall Adam and Eve have conventional sexual intercourse that would lead naturally to pregnancy, family, and a fully realized society. Om contrast, their fallen lovemaking, glossed as 'lust,' turns to oral sex that effectively separates sexual pleasure from that continuum" (Savoie, MQ 45:3:161).

  He follows the pun on "fallacious" and "fellatio," considers Catullus, Martial, Samson Agonistes, and has made it impossible for me to look at Michelangelo's depiction of the Fall without blushing. 

  It all leads up to "And so they experience 'the force of that fallacious Fruit,' until they waken from their postprandial slumber, 'now soil'd and stain'd / And in [their] faces evident the signs / Of foul concupiscence' (1046, 1076-78). The image need not be exclusively metaphysical, but rather a material soil and stain before it becomes a sign" (MQ 45:3:167).

  I was a resisting reader, but I could not resist it.



-- 
Margaret Thickstun
Jane Watson Irwin Professor of English
Hamilton College
198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323
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-- 

Dr. James Rovira 
Associate Professor of English
Tiffin University
http://www.jamesrovira.com
Blake and Kierkegaard: Creation and Anxiety
Continuum 2010
http://jamesrovira.com/blake-and-kierkegaard-creation-and-anxiety/

Text, Identity, Subjectivity
http://scalar.usc.edu/works/text-identity-subjectivity/index



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