[Milton-L] more, seemingly ever more, on fallacious

Matthew Jordan matthewjorda at gmail.com
Thu Apr 17 12:47:29 EDT 2014


Incidentally, I wonder where the angels' "easier than air with air" is in all this, when it comes to ideals of sexuality??

Best

Matt

Sent from my iPhone

> On 17 Apr 2014, at 17:41, Gregory Machacek <Gregory.Machacek at marist.edu> wrote:
> 
> I should have made more pointed that advancing this newest reading requires me to abandon the fellatio bit of John Savoie's article (which, by the way, I'd never endorsed, just explored some possible linguistic grounds for).  This new reading attempts to address itself to Lewis and Strier's observations that pre and post lapsarian lovemaking is either too similar or altogether indistinguishable (the question that drives John's article).  This new reading attempts to answer that charge by flatly acknowledging it:  the lovemaking is exactly the same.  What Milton's treatment of the moment after lapsarian lovemaking allows to see is that that the only difference is that Adam has now "got" the "evil" of having "lost" being able to regard lovemaking with Eve as simply "good"; he now regards it as less good than the super-enhanced lovemaking he'd imagined the fruit would allow (along with extra knowledge (although knowledge had never really been his temptation, but something having to do with the link of nature)).
> 
> It's on John Savoie to find cunnilingus going on somewhere in the passage, although, of the two, fellatio is the more disruptive of reproductive sexuality; that's what I suppose he'll argue.
> 
> 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>
> From: "Carol Barton, Ph.D., CPCM" 
> Sent by: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
> Date: 04/17/2014 11:58AM
> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] more, seemingly ever more, on fallacious
> 
> Okay, I wasn't going to go there, but I think it's time someone raised this issue: why would Milton have chosen to portray (or modern males to read) degradation of Eve's sexual proclivities only? Where's your evidence for cunnilingus in all this--or was Adam above such things?
>  
> I just don't buy it, Shirley.
>  
> Best to all,
>  
> Carol Barton
>  
> 
> From: Gregory Machacek
> Sent: Thursday, April 17, 2014 11:39 AM
> To: John Milton Discussion List
> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] more, seemingly ever more, on fallacious
> 
> John Leonard 'Surely it was the  expectation of knowledge, rather than any hope that sex would "be better somehow", that makes the fruit "fallax"'
> 
> They're not mutually exclusive.
> 
> John Savoie's better point than the fellatio bit is that the act of lovemaking we're considering is not postlapsarian but lapsarian, part-and-parcel with the fall; John (Leonard) quickly follows the above quote by acknowledging there is (even outside of Milton) a connection between knowledge and carnal knowledge.  There are a lot of reasons for believing Milton wants us to regard knowing  as tied up with "knowing" (if you know what I mean, hint hint, nudge nudge).  First, there is the very fact that we've been looking at; that the fallaciousness of the fruit doesn't emerge until after the eating and the lovemaking.  Also, as part of her temptation of Adam,  Eve proposes not just knowledge, but "new joys," that what had "touched her sense" before she ate of the tree is flat compared with how sweet things can be.  And it's female "charm" that wins him over, and there's some talk of "flesh" and "engorging" along the way.  Even back in book 4, the narrator made the link by exhorting Adam and Eve to "know to know no more" right on the heels of his description of their lovemaking.  Heck, "rising" in the quote on which John focuses admits of a sexualized meaning, maybe fall too.
> 
> Among the "evils got" may be the evil of now being dissatisfied with lovemaking for having imagined that there would be a better version of it, to which Adam now negatively compares even exactly the same experience as he had previously enjoyed with Eve.
> 
> And stop calling me Shirley!  (there's some "flaccid demotic" for ya).
> 
> Greg Machacek
> Professor of English
> Marist College
> 
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