[Milton-L] Norvegers

srevard at siue.edu srevard at siue.edu
Sun Jan 19 11:38:45 EST 2014

Many thanks, Salwa--and kudos to Professor Engetsu for a most usefully
researched paper showing once more Mlton's ability to bring into his poem
materials from everywhere, including contemporary political events and
struggles. And since on this list Samuel Johnson's complaints and criticisms
have rather often been cited as though they were the most important part of his
assessment of Paradise Lost, I'll quote this bit from Johnson's Life of Milton:
"Here is a full display of the united force of study and genius; of a great
accumulation of materials, with judgment to digest and fancy to combine them:
Milton was able to select from nature or from story, from ancient fable or from
modern science, whatever could illustrate or adorn his thoughts. An accumulation
of knowledge impregnated his mind, fermented by study and exalted by
imagination."  [Quoted from the Norton Anthology of English Literature, Third
Edition, Major Authors Edition, p. 1277).

Quoting Salwa Khoddam <skhoddam at cox.net>:

> In the July 2008 International Milton Forum, Katsuhiro Engetsu, from Doshisha
> University, Japan, read a paper on the associations of Leviathan and Satan to
> Norway, titled "The Norwegian Leviathan in *Paradise Lost*: Milton behind
> Marvell, Meadows, and Moreland." Aside from the Norwegian pine (and fir to
> Dryden) that provided the sturdiest wood for building "masts, " and Norway
> being the locus classicus of the sea-snake, the Kraken (its Biblical figure
> being the Leviathan/Satan), Engetsu introduces political issues in Milton's
> use of Norway. He writes that the Baltic Sea was important for Milton as
> Secretary for the Foreign Tongues and (when he became blind) his assistants
> Philip Meadows and Samuel Moreland, because in 1657 Denmark, a Protestant
> nation, instigated by Norway, invaded Sweden, another Protestant power, and
> monopolized the Baltic sea trade. Meadows' mission was to mediate between the
> two nations and defend "the Protestant Cause" against Spain, and Moreland's
> was to speak against the massacre of the Waldenses and warn against "the
> Leviathan of Popery." The Netherlands remained an enemy to England,
> challenging it for "Sea-Monarchy." Engetsu writes, "Milton's vision of
> republicanism collapsed with 'the Protestant Cause,' but the memory of the
> Baltic Sea persists in his mind, now displaced to the Satanic image of
> "sea-monarchy." Milton's association between the biblical Leviathan and the
> non-biblical Norway represents his bitter witness to the making process of
> emerging secular nationalism in seventeenth-century Europe."
> I hope my summary has given justice to Professor Engetsu's paper. It may be
> published now.
> 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, January 16, 2014 2:11 PM
>   Subject: [Milton-L] Norvegers
>   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
>   --
>   James 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
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