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

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Wed Apr 16 13:28:26 EDT 2014


Yes, and I think we may have a case of the obvious being overlooked for the
sake of the obscure.

Jim R


On Wed, Apr 16, 2014 at 1:23 PM, J. Michael Gillum <mgillum at ret.unca.edu>wrote:

> 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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>>
>>
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>
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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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