[Milton-L] fallacious=false=deceptive=misleading=delusive

J. Michael Gillum mgillum at ret.unca.edu
Wed Apr 16 13:23:47 EDT 2014


Oydin, thanks for that thorough and interesting review, which might be
publishable somewhere as a note. In the immediate context, the fruit is
"false" because it "their inmost powers / Made err" (1048-49). Metrical
convenience and the visual pun on "fall" can explain the choice of synonym.
Of course, nothing can forbid the sexual pun if somebody wants to hear it.


On Wed, Apr 16, 2014 at 1:06 PM, Uzakova, Oydin Yashinova <
oydin.uzakova at okstate.edu> wrote:

>    Greg Machacek asked: "I'm undecided on the pun, but I have this
> question.  Is "fallacious" sufficiently motivated here if not for the pun?
>  In what sense is the fruit fallacious, and why is that the feature of it
> that one would mention here, as its force is being exhaled?"
>
>
>  I believe that Milton used the word "fallacious" simply as a synonymic
> variation of the word "false"--he used the adjective "false" 21 times in
> the poem, but the adjective "fallacious" only 2 times: "fallacious hope" (
> 2.568) and "that fallacious fruit" (9.1046).  However, in Milton's use of
> these synonyms, they seem to be perfectly interchangeable, because
> he also uses "that false fruit" 2 times in the poem (9.1011 and 11.413),
> referring to the same forbidden fruit as in "that fallacious fruit"
> (9.1046).
>
>
>  Likewise, Milton uses "false hope" in the same sense as "fallacious
> hope" just 47 lines earlier in the same Book 2 and even with the same
> reference to the fallen angels: "Thence more at ease their minds, and
> somewhat raised/By *false presumptuous hope*, the ranged Powers/Disband"
> (2.521-23).  In my mind, these *identical* examples of MiIton's use of
> these two adjectives prove their interchangeable nature and their purely
> synonymic value to Milton-the-poet, unless one is also willing to accept my
> earlier claim that there may be an additional pun on "fall" (as in
> "fallen") here, emphasizing the fallen angels' and the fallen Adam and
> Eve's postlapsarian delusion.
>
>
>  The forbidden fruit is "false" or "fallacious" because it allegedly
> promised "clearer sight," but instead it breeds the cataract-like "film" in
> Adam and Eve's eyes that Michael has to remove in order to show
> postlapsarian Adam "nobler sights" in Book 11 (11.412-14).  The fruit is
> also "false" or "fallacious" because it allegedly promised "divinity," but
> instead it "far other operation first displayed," making Adam and Eve feel
> "intoxicated" and inflamed with "carnal desire" (1008-13).  The forbidden
> fruit is also "fallacious" because it deceives with fallacious reasoning,
> with false logic via Satan, as well as "excites" false/fallacious hope in
> the fallen angels in Book 2 and in the fallen Adam and Eve in Book 9 as a
> result of their "vain wisdom" and "false philosophy" (2.565).
>
>
>  The postlapsarian delusion resembles the intoxicated state, full of
> wishful thinking, that can temporarily numb the actual mental and physical
> pain or "anguish" like "a pleasing sorcery" (2.566):
>
> The fallen angels "in wandering mazes lost" delude themselves with the
> charm of "fallacious hope" in Hell in Book 2 (lines 566-69):
> Yet, with a pleasing sorcery, could charm
>
> Pain for a while or anguish, and excite
>
> Fallacious hope, or arm the obdured breast
>
> With stubborn patience as with triple steel.
>
>
>  Likewise, Adam and Eve experience "the exhilarating vapor" of "that
> fallacious fruit" that makes their "inmost powers" err in their
> postlapsarian sex (9.1046-49):
>
> Soon as the force of that fallacious fruit,
>
> That with exhilarating vapor bland
>
> About their spirits had played, and inmost powers
> Made err, was now exhaled;
>
>
>  I believe that in both of these instances, Milton chose the adjective
> "fallacious" instead of its synonym "false" to stress the lapsarian effect
> of fallacious reasoning even more, as well as to reinforce it with the
> possible pun on "fall/fallen."  Thus, in my eyes, Milton's use of "the
> force of that fallacious fruit" as emphasizing the intoxicating quality of
> fallacious reasoning and postlapsarian delusion is "sufficiently motivated"
> without any need for potential sexual punning.
>
>
>  Oydin
>
>
>  ------------------------------
> *From:* milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu <
> milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu> on behalf of Gregory Machacek <
> Gregory.Machacek at marist.edu>
> *Sent:* Tuesday, April 15, 2014 10:31 PM
> *To:* John Milton Discussion List
> *Subject:* [Milton-L] fellatious and coarticulation
>
>  I can't believe I'm getting sucked into another thread.
>
>  I had resolved to give you all a break from hearing from me after the
> whole the-fruit's-not-an-apple trudge.
>
>  But in addition to what John Savoie says here, that all a pun needs is a
> rough similarity, we must remember what he established in his MQ article,
> and what Salwa shows:  English had no word for fellatio evidenced before
> 1887.  So if we're going to hear a pun at all it will be through the Latin.
>  I think the e in fellare is a short e, so if "that" nudges "fallacious"
> toward "fellacious," all we would need to do is start hearing fell-ay and
> then the "t" part of "ch" to have the pun start to register.  "All that
> fall" is not a valid analog, although on the surface, nothing could seem to
> be closer.  In that phrase, coarticulation would operate through the rhyme.
>  The "all" and "fall" would fix each other in their normal pronunciation,
> and together they would turn "that" into "th't"  ("th't" is one of the
> first words through which I started noticing what I later learned linguists
> had a name for).
>
>  Please, please remember, though, that I wasn't primarily trying to add
> evidence for John's article; I'm using this whole case as a pretext for
> asking a question as to whether a even poet as skilled as Milton could use
> coarticulation meaningfully, or whether that is too hyper-subtle an aspect
> of language to be deliberately employed.
>
>  I'm undecided on the pun, but I have this question.  Is "fallacious"
> sufficiently motivated here if not for the pun?  In what sense is the fruit
> fallacious, and why is that the feature of it that one would mention here,
> as its force is being exhaled?
>
>
>
> Greg Machacek
> Professor of English
> Marist College
>
>
> -----milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu wrote: -----
> To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>, John K
> Leonard <jleonard at uwo.ca>
> From: jsavoie at siue.edu
> Sent by: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
> Date: 04/15/2014 09:54PM
> Cc: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] lapsarian sex, fallacious, milton's verbal skill
> (and blake's fruit)
>
> A pun need not utilize a precise homophone to be effective; it merely
> needs to
> be close enough to be suggestive.
>
> John Savoie
>
> Quoting John K Leonard <jleonard at uwo.ca>:
>
> >
> >
> > On 04/15/14, Gregory Machacek <Gregory.Machacek at marist.edu> wrote:
> > >   On different sides of the fallacious/fellatio debate:
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> >  Greg goes on to  offer some ingenious ruminations on the
> "coarticulation" of
> > "that" and "fall" to produce "fell", but to my ears it is the last (not
> the
> > first) syllable of "fallacious" that presents the biggest obstacle to the
> > obscene pun that John Savoie has proposed. So far as I am aware, there
> is not
> > (and has never been) an English word "fellatious." If our ears are to be
> as
> > finely attuned as Greg asks them to be, this  matters. I remain open to
> > persuasion, but I have not yet heard any argument compelling enough to
> woo me
> > from my initial response, which was  "I too am sceptical." I recognize
> that
> > Greg was  weighing options, not taking a side in "the . . . debate", but
> the
> > "coarticulation" evidence carries little weight with me. My point in
> quoting
> > the Carew poem was not (as Carol Barton seems to infer)  that Milton was
> > similarly rakish; my point was to refute Richard Strier's claim that
>  "even
> > pornographic poetry [was] remarkably genitally oriented." I do not think
> that
> > Milton was a pornographic poet (though he did have a taste for bawdy
> puns, as
> > we know from the prose).
> >
> > Greg's conjecture (I recognize it was nothing more) that "that" might
> turn
> > "fall" into "fell" encounters another obstacle, it seems to me, in Psalm
> 145:
> > "the Lord upholdeth all that fall." This biblical verse gave Beckett the
> > title of his radio play All That Fall. Does anyone really hear that as
> "All
> > that Fell"?
> >
> > John Leonard
> >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> >
>
>
>
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