[Milton-L] lapsarian sex

Larisa Zámbóné Kocić larisa.kocic at gmail.com
Tue Apr 15 13:17:22 EDT 2014

Dear John,

As far as I am aware of it, sex in the Renaissance, wether sanctioned in
matrimony or practiced as a "sport" for pleasures, always seems to intail
procreation, or at least to strive towards it. Even the lust driven, erotic
literature of the age (and I am here deliberatly sticking with Ian
Moulton's phrase) is replete with procreation, hence, prefering penetrative
sex descriptions - if mentioning other, alternative variations, they are
either featured as foreplays, or are described in derogatory sense not
necessarily connected to the postlapsarian condition as such (see *The
School of Venus* for example). Particularly interesting in this regards
would be Sarah Toulalan's  *Pornography and Bodies in Seventeenth-Century
England* (Oxford UP, 2007), chapter two: "‘What a Fountain of Joys’:
Reproduction and Sexual Pleasure."
So, I am inclined to agree with Oydin about "fallacious" puning on "fall",
if at all.
Thank you for the very intersting article,

Larisa Kocic-Zámbó

> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2014 09:42:09 -0500
> From: jsavoie at siue.edu
> 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.
> *****************************************
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