[Milton-L] the sociable spirit

Salwa Khoddam skhoddam at cox.net
Thu Feb 27 17:16:14 EST 2014


"What implications are there for how we read the tutorial of PL 5 through 8? jdf "
I don't think I can anwer this question fully. But I would like to begin by thanking Professor Fleming for bringing to our attention this splendid passage that reflects Milton's stunning use of syncreticism of classical and Biblical motifs. There is a lot to be said about the beauty of this passage, but what stands out to me from these lines is not only the angel's stunning beauty, but also his authority, in his likeness to the Phoenix and Mercury, both figures of prophecy in classical mythology, the latter always a messanger of Zeus, and also in Milton's focus on his closeness to God through these images: Raphael's "lineaments Divine," the first pair of wings with "regal Ornament," the middle pair "Girt like a Starrie Zone" with "downie Gold / And colours dipt in Heav'n,"  and most important, the third pair, which "Shaddowd [his feet] from either heele with featherd maile / Skie-tinctur'd grain." These links between Raphael and the Deity not only give authority to his "tutorial" about angels ( free will and the fall, the "lowly wise" type of knowledge recommended to Adam, the creation, etc.) but, most importantly, re-inforce the chain of being doctrine at the foundation of this poem. In the same manner that the angels are linked to God (as the above images suggested), man is linked to the angels, and the beasts to man in a hierarchical order--which explains Adam's fall bringing Nature and every creature down with him.
Best,
Salwa

Salwa Khoddam PhD
Professor of English Emerita
Oklahoma City University
Author of *Mythopoeic Narnia:
Memory, Metaphor, and Metamorphoses 
in The Chronicles of Narnia*
skhoddam at cox.net
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: JD Fleming 
  To: John Milton Discussion List 
  Sent: Thursday, February 27, 2014 1:54 PM
  Subject: Re: [Milton-L] the sociable spirit


  The question is: Are we supposed to keep in mind the extremely humble and occluded Raphael of the Tobias story--beloved in the period, judging from its profile in painting alone--when we look at the extraordinarily magnificent Raphael of PL? And if so--what implications are there for how we read the tutorial of PL 5 through 8? jdf


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  From: "Horace Jeffery Hodges" <horacejeffery at gmail.com>
  To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
  Sent: Thursday, 27 February, 2014 11:46:16
  Subject: Re: [Milton-L] the sociable spirit


  I'm not sure what the question is, but I was reminded of this:



    Revelation 4:6b-8 [New International Version (NIV)] 6b In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. 7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. 8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings.


  But only because of the six wings . . .


  Jeffery Hodges


  Ewha Womans University
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  On Fri, Feb 28, 2014 at 3:17 AM, JD Fleming <jfleming at sfu.ca> wrote:

    Dear all,




    Teaching PL 5 last week, I was struck more than ever by:




    "Down thither prone in flight
    He speeds, and through the vast Ethereal Skie
    Sailes between worlds and worlds, with steddie wing
    Now on the polar windes, then with quick Fann
    Winnows the buxom Air; till within soare 
    Of Towring Eagles, to all the Fowles he seems
    A Phœnix, gaz'd by all, as that sole Bird
    When to enshrine his reliques in the Sun's
    Bright Temple, to Ægyptian Theb's he flies.
    At once on th' Eastern cliff of Paradise 
    He lights, and to his proper shape returns
    A Seraph wingd; six wings he wore, to shade
    His lineaments Divine; the pair that clad
    Each shoulder broad, came mantling o're his brest
    With regal Ornament; the middle pair
    Girt like a Starrie Zone his waste, and round
    Skirted his loines and thighes with downie Gold
    And colours dipt in Heav'n; the third his feet
    Shaddowd from either heele with featherd maile
    Skie-tinctur'd grain. Like Maia's son he stood, 
    And shook his Plumes, that Heav'nly fragrance filld
    The circuit wide." (PL 5.266-287)




    A stunning contrast, it seems to me, with this:




    "Therefore when he went to seek a man, he found Raphael that was an angel.

    But he knew him not." (Book of Tobit 5:4-5)




    To which our attention is drawn at PL 4.166-71 and (more importantly) 5.219-23.




    Thoughts? JDF



    -- 
    James Dougal Fleming
    Associate Professor
    Department of English
    Simon Fraser University
    778-782-4713


    Burnaby -- British Columbia -- Canada.


    Upstairs was a room for travelers. ‘You know, I shall take it for the rest of my life,’ Vasili Ivanovich is reported to have said as soon as he had entered it. 
    -- Vladimir Nabokov, "Cloud, Castle, Lake'





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  -- 

  James Dougal Fleming
  Associate Professor
  Department of English
  Simon Fraser University
  778-782-4713


  Burnaby -- British Columbia -- Canada.


  Upstairs was a room for travelers. ‘You know, I shall take it for the rest of my life,’ Vasili Ivanovich is reported to have said as soon as he had entered it. 
  -- Vladimir Nabokov, "Cloud, Castle, Lake'






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