[Milton-L] P.S. on "female seed"

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Sat Nov 28 11:46:46 EST 2015

I have a friend doing work on embryology in the Romantic era. I think there
were a variety of theories available to the English at the time, but my
first inclination with the "woman's seed" line is that it's a reference to
the protevangelion in Genesis and by extension a reference to Mary. Note
that in Genesis 3 the enmity exists between the woman, specifically, and
the serpent, and in the King James, between the "woman's seed" and the
serpent as well:

15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed
and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

So another question might be if the passage is really relevant to views of
procreation in Milton's time given the Biblical reference? In other words,
this might just be an exceptional case and not reflective of general views
of procreation in Milton's time.

I can ask my friend if she'd mind if I shared with you some of her recent
work. It's not published yet or I would direct you. It's useful in that it
lays out different theories of procreation available during the English
Romantic era and their origins.

Jim R

On Sat, Nov 28, 2015 at 2:02 AM, Dario Rivarossa <dario.rivarossa at gmail.com>

> Sorry for a slip. Obviously, in the case of Mary, the active principle
> did not come from a "man," but the interesting side of the issue
> remains the one concerning the role of woman in the process of
> generation.
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