[Milton-L] One should abstain from Milton quotes if . . .

Carol Barton, Ph.D., CPCM cbartonphd1 at verizon.net
Sun Nov 29 13:54:49 EST 2015


Read The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, and you will find several passages that might be translated that way. Milton believed that marriage was a union of souls, and that intelligent conversation between a husband and wife lifted one another's eyes heavenward--that married love helped us to understand agape. By the same token, when a man was "yoked" like an ox to a woman who was neither his soul mate nor his intellectual equal, it was a union made in hell, not heaven. And Carter (unsurprisingly) is right: "conversation" has more of the flavor of a meeting of the minds, of spiritual, intellectual union, in these passages, than it does of mere dialogue.

Best to all (and Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it),

Carol Barton


From: Stella Revard 
Sent: Sunday, November 29, 2015 1:41 PM
To: John Milton Discussion List 
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] One should abstain from Milton quotes if . . .


Thanks, Dario, for the Pontifical Council's unwary tweet of Milton's epigram.  Assuming that "conversation" was Milton's English word here, it's worth noting that the word had a much deeper meaning in his time than in ours:  it could refer not just to "talk" but intimate social interaction.  I think that's how Milton would have been using it in the quoted passage.  The only contemporary writer who made use of that deeper set of meanings for it, so far as I know, is Dylan Thomas in "The Conversation of Prayers," but I suspect Eliot may somewhere have used it thataway.

All best,

Carter



On 11/29/15, Dario Rivarossa <dario.rivarossa at gmail.com> wrote: 
  Not meant as an offense against Catholics (me included), but.
  In a recent written statement, the head of the Pontifical Council for
  the Family, the Italian bishop Vincenzo Paglia, reported a quotation
  from Milton. No source indicated, so this is just a back-version from
  Italian:
  "A good marriage is a pleasant and happy conversation."
  He probably aimed to look well-read, but probably found the sentence
  in Chinese biscuits or the like. Someone here should be so kind as to
  inform him about the life & works of John Milton with reference to
  marriage.

  Best!

  -- 
  il Tassista http://tassonomia.blogspot.it e http://stornielle.blogspot.it
  co-artist with the Magic Trio http://tiziafra.wix.com/the-magic-trio
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