[Milton-L] Stella yet once more (was Milton, Bunyan, Tolkien, Lewis)

Jameela Lares jameela.lares at usm.edu
Wed Oct 1 08:51:28 EDT 2014


Much more on topic for this list would be my saying--finally--how devastated I remain that Stella is no longer with us.  I could hardly think to write anything when I got the news, especially since I was in London and already thinking about her very much, since London always seemed to be part of who she was. Stella was one of the first senior Miltonists to encourage my work, and in fact the germ of one of my best articles/book chapters was an observation she made about one of my early papers.  She was wise and gracious, in many ways as "absolute" as Milton's Eve. Certainly, Carter, my loss can not begin to approach even the distant outskirts of your own, but only now can I write any kind of tribute to her. Requiescat in pace.

Jameela Lares
Professor of English
The University of Southern Mississippi
118 College Drive, #5037
Hattiesburg, MS  39406-0001
601 266-4319 ofc
601 266-5757 fax
________________________________________
From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] on behalf of Stella Revard [srevard at siue.edu]
Sent: Monday, September 29, 2014 1:14 PM
To: John Milton Discussion List
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Milton, Bunyan, Tolkien, Lewis

Dear Jameela,

Ah yes--later got to know John Burrow (excellent scholar, fine man), don't think I ever met Diana, and have not read her fiction.  Knew a number of St. Anne's girls in 1952-54--one in particular was a fine pianist who played for the skit we did at a Rhodes House party, lamenting the 1952 loss by Adlai Stevenson to Dwight Eisenhower.  The skit, written by a Rotary scholar, had words set to operatic tunes; I had to sing (very badly) one to the music of O Terra Addio from Aida, and the high notes were beyond me; we also sang words set to the quartet from Rigoletto, much easier to negotiate.  These later helped give me pseudo-creds with Stella--I knew the tunes even if I couldn't sing them!

As I think I mentioned before, Lewis moved to Cambridge in part because he did NOT get the Merton professorship that came vacant in 1954--it went instead to Helen Gardner.  Helen lived in Eynsham, and when Stella and I with our two older boys lived there near her in the summer of 1964, we went to dinner with her and she read over Stella's dissertation on the War in Heaven, which Stella worked at revising that summer.  I was trying to edit and gloss a medieval poem, which was supposedly connected to the church at Stanton Harcourt a mile and a half or so down country lanes from Eynsham (Pope wrote a couplet or two for the young couple who got struck by lightning in a haystack near Stanton Harcourt.)  Stella got the War in Heaven published in 1980 (Cornell, not Oxford), but my medieval thing did not get into print until 2001, in Studies in the Age of Chaucer.  Turned out it was not connected to Stanton Harcourt but to a Shropshire man who worked for the Black Prince in Wales and France and so on....

And I now leave the list to Milton postings.

Carter


On 09/29/14, Jameela Lares <jameela.lares at usm.edu> wrote:
Carter, Diana Wynne Jones went up to Oxford in 1953 to St. Anne’s College. She died in 2011.  You probably knew her late husband, John Burrow the medievalist.  She was an important writer of dozens of works of quirky children's fantasy and was friends with such other British fantasists as Neil Gaiman.

I am sorry that this thread has gotten away from our main man Milton, though I will say that I can't remember finding much of Milton in Diana Wynne Jones's work, either.  Now I am curious and might write the DWJ listserv--yes, there is one--to see if anyone else has.  BTW, she mentioned in her autobiography that she also attended Lewis's lectures at Oxford; it must have been just before he moved to Cambridge.

Jameela Lares
Professor of English
The University of Southern Mississippi
118 College Drive, #5037
Hattiesburg, MS  39406-0001
601 266-4319 ofc
601 266-5757 fax
________________________________________
From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] on behalf of Stella Revard [srevard at siue.edu]
Sent: Monday, September 29, 2014 10:00 AM
To: John Milton Discussion List
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Milton, Bunyan, Tolkien, Lewis

Dear Jameela,

No, I don't remember anyone named Dianna Wynne Jones:  what was her college and when was she there?  I was at Merton College, where Tolkien was then the Merton Professor of English Language and Literature.  (He was succeeded about 1963 by Norman Davis, who with his wife became a very good friend of Stella and me, and considerably helped my medieval researches.  Norman was a New Zealand Rhodes from the 1930s who I think rowed in the Blue boat for Oxford; he and his wife met in the 1940s while they were under cover in the Balkans, helping blow up German installations and such.  Norman was captured in Yugoslavia and spent the rest of the war imprisoned in Italy.  Lovely man, lovely wife.)

Much appreciate John Creaser's story--had not heard it.  By 1961 Tolkien was famous in America for Lord of the Rings--John, were you and others reading that when you went to his lecture?

Carter


On 09/29/14, Jameela Lares <jameela.lares at usm.edu> wrote:
Thanks, Carter.  I wonder if you and Diana Wynne Jones were at Tolkien's lecture together. She reports being so interested in the muttered lectures that she stayed for the whole term, along with another friend.

Jameela Lares
Professor of English
The University of Southern Mississippi
118 College Drive, #5037
Hattiesburg, MS  39406-0001
601 266-4319 ofc
601 266-5757 fax
________________________________________
From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] on behalf of Stella Revard [srevard at siue.edu]
Sent: Sunday, September 28, 2014 11:54 PM
To: John Milton Discussion List
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Milton, Bunyan, Tolkien, Lewis

Thanks Jameela--you are right, my post went tangential.  And I apologize for tiresomely repeating once again that story of amerce--which comes to mind whenever I think of Tolkien's lectures (which I stopped attending because I could not hear what he was saying), and of all that time with the OED studying the usage of Milton and Spenser and Shakespeare et al.

You're right, Jameela, Tolkien's epic work mostly used different stories and sources; in some ways he is more like Wagner than Milton.  (We don't know, however, what Milton might have done by way of an Arthurian epic.)   I wonder though:  Frodo is a Redeemer, no?  and Sauron, smitten with amazement, falls into perdition, right? Should we look, perhaps, toward Paradise Regained as much as toward Paradise Lost, or Beowulf?

Carter

On 09/28/14, Jameela Lares <jameela.lares at usm.edu> wrote:
Granted, Carter.

But we are not talking about Tolkien's including Milton in a curriculum but in whether or not one can see Milton's presence in his own work, which is rather a different thing.  I think Dario is looking to see if Tolkien reworked Milton, and I am answering that Tolkien's own creative tastes seem to me to run counter to what Milton represents.

Apples and oranges.

Jameela Lares
Professor of English
The University of Southern Mississippi
118 College Drive, #5037
Hattiesburg, MS  39406-0001
601 266-4319 ofc
601 266-5757 fax
________________________________________
From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] on behalf of Stella Revard [srevard at siue.edu]
Sent: Sunday, September 28, 2014 1:47 PM
To: John Milton Discussion List
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Milton, Bunyan, Tolkien, Lewis

Au contraire, Jameela.  Tolkien designed the Oxford English curriculum, which included as one of the nine final exams a Milton and Spenser exam; and he lectured regularly on the linguistic history of texts, of course including Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight--but among the set texts we had to study in my 1952-54 time there were Books One and Two of Paradise Lost.  We were expected to comment, in the History of English Language exam, on the language in passages from PL I & II, drawing on study of the OED etc.  I remember my shock, years later (about 1976-8, when Stella showed me that one of the words in PL I, amerce, would have been considered likely by Milton to have a Classical Greek etymology, and our friend Bill Madsen, then the Miltonist at Washington U St. Louis, lent us his 18th century edition of Newton in which the commentators confirmed this--and the OED editors had got this all wrong, because in their entry for amerce they cited Milton's use but forcibl!
 y and clumsily presented it with reference only to the Anglo-Norman etymology, not mentioning the Greek amersein--Chapman's Homer has it (in the Odyssey, Demodocus is said to have been amerced of his sight but given the gift of song).  Stella and I published a little note on this in Milton Quarterly--which John Leonard, as exemplary editor of Milton, made use of in his revised edition.  Other scholars had apparently not known or did not pick up our correction.  (When I told Bob Burchfield, then editor of the OED, about it, it was too late for him to incorporate the correction into the just-being-published Revised Edition, but I think it has by now been so incorporated:  if not, it "jolly well should be.")

Sorry, this hasty note is not terribly coherent, but I hope that like John Leonard future editorss of Paradise Lost will get the gloss or footnote on amerce right (David Loewenstein and Barbara Lewalski for Oxford will, I'm sure).

My guess is that Tolkien as Catholic did not at all approve of Milton's politics and religion. Neither, I think, did Lewis.  But that both read his poems I have no doubt whatever. I'm not sure what the English curriculum was when both of them (I think) took First Class Honours at Oxford, around the time of WWI, but I'd guess Milton's poems would have been on their reading list; and for their secondary schools also:  others will know about this better than I do.

And I think Milton knew more of and about Anglo-Saxon that Jameela's comment allows for, but I will let others provide evidence on that.

Carter Revard


edu> wrote:
I don't find Milton's absence in Tolkien odd at all.  Tolkien was a philologist working in earlier languages, and it would appear that Milton knew little if anything about Anglo-Saxon, despite some earlier twentieth century attempts to link him to this text or that.  It is in Lewis, with his sympathies for Anglo-Norman and later literature, that one should look for Milton, not in Tolkien.

One might as well look for Dante to mention Milton.

(Who was it who said that Tolkien was very angry about the Norman conquest [because of the changes in made in the language], as if it were a recent affair, as in having happened last Thursday?)

Jameela Lares
Professor of English
The University of Southern Mississippi
118 College Drive, #5037
Hattiesburg, MS  39406-0001
601 266-4319 ofc
601 266-5757 fax
________________________________________
From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] on behalf of Dario Rivarossa [dario.rivarossa at gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, September 28, 2014 10:33 AM
To: milton-l at lists.richmond.edu
Subject: [Milton-L] Milton, Bunyan, Tolkien, Lewis

Dear Jim

I absolutely agree on Melkor, but "The Silmarillion" is a posthumous
work, however fascinating and brillantly assembled by JRR's son
Christopher. Milton however seems to be nearly absent in Tolkien's
"proper" novels. Isn't it odd? Lewis' works are full of Miltonian
references, and Tolkien and he "borrowed" many hints from each other;
but Tolkien hardly absorbed ideas from PL, not even via Lewis,
apparently.

Thanks!

>Dario --

You might want to look carefully at Melkor as he appears in the opening
sections of Tolkein's Silmarillion to see how he might compare to Milton's
Satan. The Sauron of LOTR is more something trapped within and dependent
upon human/wizard/orc structures, so won't resemble Satan, who is a
relatively independent agent in PL, but the origin narrative in the
Silmarillion might be worth looking at. I think Sauron is a kind of
subordinate to Melkor, who would probably be the closest equivalent to
Milton's Satan.

Jim
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