[Milton-L] An antidote . . .

JCarl Bellinger dionhalic at gmail.com
Fri Apr 18 09:39:39 EDT 2014


Thanks, Louis Schwartz, for this so beautiful a statement! -Carl
On Apr 17, 2014 2:53 PM, "Schwartz, Louis" <lschwart at richmond.edu> wrote:

>  And yes to what James Fleming says.  This seems to me the basic value of
> the whole poem.  And it’s not just received ideas about sexuality or
> morality that are interrogated   The whole project of justification itself,
> I think, depends on the challenge to what’s received about it, which is why
> the poem even challenges what we seem to receive from it.  This bit of
> Adamic acuity in cluelessness suggests, very nicely how the poem works,
> inviting thought even as it seems to cut it off:
>
>
>
> Apt the Mind or Fancie is to roave
>
> Uncheckt, and of her roaving is no end….
>
>
>
> The poem both checks and unchecks, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence,
> in that light, that what seems like it’s the end of a conversation here
> (with its nice, tidy, lesson learned) turns out to be just prelude to a
> much more complicated and untidy discussion of exactly what has vexed us
> into further discussion once again.  There is nothing more “at hand” than
> the details of Adam’s experience of himself, his first apprehensions of
> life on earth and in Paradise, and finally his loneliness, desires, and
> erotic experience of Eve, which is what he goes on and on about over the
> next several hundred lines, offering us all sorts of complicating contexts
> and pretexts for what happens the next day (not to mention what has already
> happened and what we’ve already heard Eve say about some of the same things
> from her perspective—also the narrator’s earlier account of the love the
> two of them made, ah, the night before).
>
>
>
> In the interest of further roving along these lines over into Book 9, I’d
> like to repeat something I brought up the last time Richard Strier invited
> us to consider the issue.  I don’t agree with him entirely that there’s no
> difference between the sex that Adam and Eve have before and after the
> fall, but in a crucial sense the fact that the two acts (or sets of acts)
> are more the same than we might conventionally imagine them or expect them
> to be does make a difference.  Milton’s poising of the two scenes against
> one another is a centrally powerful example of the challenging power of the
> poem.
>
>
>
> For me the key and most poetically brilliant touch—and it happens to come
> right before we’re told that the force of the “fallacious Fruit” with its
> “exhilerating vapor bland” is “exhal’d” out of the bodies of Adam and
> Eve—is the way that Milton has the narrator call Adam’s and Eve’s taking
> their “fill of Love and Loves disport” both the “*seal*” of “thir mutual
> guilt” and “The *solace* of thir sin [italics mine].”  “Seal” and
> “solace.”  A pact, a union, a broken union, a consolation, isolation,
> impression; “seis’d” and taken largely, nothing loath.  Sole alas, unsavory
> of itself, but also soul, associate soul, one heart one flesh one soul.
> It’s a striking bit of overdetermination (it starts with the more
> conventional “seal” of guilt and then branches off unchecked from the
> addition of “solace”—and the further roving is supported by a series of
> puns and echoes).
>
>
>
> So where does that leave us?  Roving, I hope:  back to the bower, and then
> out of it to the bank and back again, and again.  As long as the heart “be
> still as loving/ And the moon be still as bright.”  Until the heart is
> stilled and we go no more, I suppose.
>
>
>
> I’m looking forward to making time soon to read John Savoie’s essay, which
> sounds really interesting to me.
>
>
>
> Louis
>
>
>
> ===========================
>
> Louis Schwartz
>
> Professor of English
>
> English Department
>
> University of Richmond
>
> 28 Westhampton Way
>
> Richmond, VA  23173
>
> (804) 289-8315
>
> lschwart at richmond.edu
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> *From:* milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [mailto:
> milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] *On Behalf Of *JD Fleming
> *Sent:* Thursday, April 17, 2014 12:08 PM
> *To:* John Milton Discussion List
> *Subject:* Re: [Milton-L] An antidote . . .
>
>
>
> Yes. The interest of this whole issue, it seems to me, is the intensity of
> the challenge that PL presents to received ideas about sexuality and
> morality--not the way in which it reproduces or conserves them. JD Fleming
>
>
>
>
>  ------------------------------
>
> *From: *"Matthew Jordan" <matthewjorda at gmail.com>
> *To: *"John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> *Sent: *Thursday, 17 April, 2014 08:42:03
> *Subject: *Re: [Milton-L] An antidote . . .
>
> I am moved to recall my - let us call it - amusement at all the students
> of Kate Belsey and Francis Barker who dutifully reproduced their superiors'
> strictures on "bourgeois marriage" in first books touchingly dedicated to
> spouses...
>
>
>
> On 17 April 2014 16:10, Carol Barton, Ph.D., CPCM <cbartonphd1 at verizon.net>
> wrote:
>
> to all of the salacious images we've been conjuring the past couple of
> days. This seems to me a wonderful expression of the kind of lovemaking
> that approaches pre-lapsarian sex in the fallen world--it's not without *desire,
> *but it is without *lust*:
>
>
>   Poem of the Day: Immortal Sails by Alfred Noyes
>
> Now, in a breath, we'll burst those gates of gold,
>
>    And ransack heaven before our moment fails.
>
> Now, in a breath, before we, too, grow old,
>
>    We'll mount and sing and spread immortal sails.
>
>
>
> It is not time that makes eternity.
>
>    Love and an hour may quite out-span the years,
>
> And give us more to hear and more to see
>
>    Than life can wash away with all its tears.
>
>
>
> Dear, when we part, at last, that sunset sky
>
>    Shall not be touched with deeper hues than this;
>
> But we shall ride the lightning ere we die
>
>    And seize our brief infinitude of bliss,
>
>
>
> With time to spare for all that heaven can tell,
>
> While eyes meet eyes, and look their last farewell.
>
>
>
> Source: *Collected Poems* (1947)
>
> I hope it helps to . . . cleanse the intellectual palate.
>
>
>
> Best to all,
>
>
>
> Carol Barton
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> Carol Barton, Ph.D., CPCM
>
>
>
> A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
> Whenever anyone has offended me, I try to raise my soul so high that the
> offense cannot reach it. -Rene Descartes, philosopher and mathematician
> (1596-1650)
>
>
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>
>
>
> --
>
> James Dougal Fleming
> Associate Professor
> Department of English
> Simon Fraser University
>
> 778-782-4713
>
>
>
> Burnaby -- British Columbia -- Canada.
>
>
>
> *And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. *
> Rev.22:3.
>
>
>
>
>
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