[Milton-L] Norvegers

JD Fleming jfleming at sfu.ca
Sat Jan 18 16:46:42 EST 2014


That's great, Hannibal. Especially the Areopagitica ref. I think I'm learning that, in M's imaginative store, "Norway" is a box containing hellish cold and ugly pride. Perhaps Hamlet is also relevant. jdf 

----- Original Message -----

From: "Hannibal Hamlin" <hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com> 
To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu> 
Sent: Saturday, 18 January, 2014 13:38:09 
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Norvegers 



Well, OK, but it really is complex, isn't it? To all of the above, there might also be added the long allusive background to Satan's "pine," including the pinus Polyphemus carries in Ovid (Met. 13), back behind which is the club of Homer's Polyphemus (olive wood, but specifically as large as a mast), and the staff of the same cyclops when Aeneus see him in Virgil's poem (no mast simile this time, but the huge staff is now a pine, not an olive). This is a famous epic trope of course, and it migrates through the Italians to Spenser, whose Satyrane charges the giantess Argante with a spear that is said to have little effect, "All were the beame in bigness like a mast." (Much of this is in Patrick Hume's 1695 Notes on Paradise Lost .) It seems then that Milton, with his epic precursors in mind, wants Satan's spear to be likened to both a pine and a mast. The association seems conventional, since the OED lists a synechdochic use of "pine" for "mast," as in "Steere hither, steere, your winged Pines, All beaten Mariners" (William Browne, Circe and Ulysses , 1645 ). If England's masts, in the 17th century, are in fact pines from Norway, then the Norwegian reference follows, though with that come the suggestions of the biblical North, whaling grounds, and such that suit so well the Leviathan simile. (Interesting, though, that the mast Satan's spear is compared to is that of an Ammiral, a form of "admiral" that show the influence of Arabic. Is this then a Spanish ship, perhaps? The only use of "ammiral," spelled this way, before Milton that turns up on EEBO is in James Ussher's Annals of the World , where it refers to Greeks, Persians, and other ancients.) Given the association in PL of Satan and Norwegian pines, it's interesting too that in Areopagitica Norwegians are represented as proud: "the barbarick pride of a Hunnish and Norwegian statelines." 


If we want to get more arcane (and who doesn't!), in a volume called Kraken: Fact or Fiction? (Rick Emmer), I find a section on Olaus Magnus, a Swedish naturalist, who wrote a history of the Norse people in which he described the "horrible monsters found on the coasts of Norway." These looked, wrote Magnus, like uprooted trees. Presumably, and he also calls these beasts "whale-sized" not whales, he is describing squid. The biblical Leviathan might just as easily be linked to giant squid as whales or any other great sea-beast, but if squid are like giant uprooted trees, that provides a rather nifty link to Satan's spear, also like an uprooted tree. And of course trees figure rather prominently in the story Milton is telling, especially that one that is the "root of all our woe," uprooting us from our happy home in Eden. 


Hannibal 






On Sat, Jan 18, 2014 at 9:59 AM, J. Michael Gillum < mgillum at ret.unca.edu > wrote: 



But John Leonard's reminder that Satan is associated with the north is a valuable point. Of course, in PL, Lucifer's barony was in the north of Heaven. 





On Fri, Jan 17, 2014 at 6:37 PM, Carol Barton, Ph.D., CPCM < cbartonphd1 at verizon.net > wrote: 

<blockquote>


Ockham's Razor. Why settle for a simple explanation, when a complex one will do? 


Thanks, Michael, and happy new year to all! 

Carol Barton 




From: Michael Gillum 
Sent: Friday, January 17, 2014 10:55 AM 

To: John Milton Discussion List 
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Norvegers 




The simple answer to why the whale is in Norway foam is that northern Norwegian waters around the island of Spitsbergen (not the Baltic) were the primary European hunting grounds for whales. British whalers and others operated there during the seventeenth century. 


http://www.spitsbergen-svalbard.com/spitsbergen-information/history/17th-century-whaling.html 




On Thu, Jan 16, 2014 at 3:11 PM, JD Fleming < jfleming at sfu.ca > wrote: 

<blockquote>


Dear all--here is a simple question that, perhaps, has been answered more than once. But those answers lie buried in dusty books; so in the spirit of our students, I would like to ask you, who know, directly: 


Why 2 references to Norway in PL 1 (203 and 293)? Why are both the foam and the pine Norwegian? Why Norway? 


Having two grandparents from Bergen, I ask. JD Fleming 

-- 

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


" 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 



_______________________________________________ 
Milton-L mailing list 
Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu 
Manage your list membership and access list archives at http://lists.richmond.edu/mailman/listinfo/milton-l 

Milton-L web site: http://johnmilton.org/ 







_______________________________________________ 
Milton-L mailing list 
Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu 
Manage your list membership and access list archives at http://lists.richmond.edu/mailman/listinfo/milton-l 

Milton-L web site: http://johnmilton.org/ 


_______________________________________________ 
Milton-L mailing list 
Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu 
Manage your list membership and access list archives at http://lists.richmond.edu/mailman/listinfo/milton-l 

Milton-L web site: http://johnmilton.org/ 

</blockquote>


_______________________________________________ 
Milton-L mailing list 
Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu 
Manage your list membership and access list archives at http://lists.richmond.edu/mailman/listinfo/milton-l 

Milton-L web site: http://johnmilton.org/ 

</blockquote>



-- 


Hannibal Hamlin 
Associate Professor of English 
Author of The Bible in Shakespeare , now available through all good bookshops, or direct from Oxford University Press at http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199677610.do 
Editor, Reformation 
The Ohio State University 
164 West 17th Ave., 421 Denney Hall 
Columbus, OH 43210-1340 
hamlin.22 at osu.edu/ 
hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com 
_______________________________________________ 
Milton-L mailing list 
Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu 
Manage your list membership and access list archives at http://lists.richmond.edu/mailman/listinfo/milton-l 

Milton-L web site: http://johnmilton.org/ 


-- 

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


" 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 


-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.richmond.edu/pipermail/milton-l/attachments/20140118/5fbc5452/attachment.html>


More information about the Milton-L mailing list