[Milton-L] response to Richard Strier, et al, on Greenblatt

Carrol Cox cbcox at ilstu.edu
Wed Sep 16 22:09:41 EDT 2015


If Milton readers consisted only of those who had received  careful instruction in the poem, it wouldn't have lasted to be taught.

I first read PL while I was serving as CQ for the 6969 Special Servies Squadron (a 12 hour sting) in 1954. I never did have a course in Milton. I'm sure my experience is by no means unique.

Carrol


-----Original Message-----
From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [mailto:milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] On Behalf Of Matthew Jordan
Sent: Wednesday, September 16, 2015 6:45 PM
To: John Milton Discussion List
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] response to Richard Strier, et al, on Greenblatt

C'mon: we're talking about an encounter with the Kristevan chora....

On 17 September 2015 at 00:44, Matthew Jordan <matthewjorda at gmail.com> wrote:


	BTW I meant "rapt" or "enrapt": got caught between that, "enraptured" and "enwrapped," I think.....

	On 17 September 2015 at 00:40, Margie <mthickst at hamilton.edu> wrote:
	

		I use reading aloud activities (and group oral exams) to teach PL. Anyone coming to Murfreesboro can hear all about it. Anyone not coming who's interested should just contact me.
		 --Margie 
		(Crystal--I'm just down the Thruway!)
		
		Sent from my iPad

		On Sep 16, 2015, at 7:26 PM, Matthew Jordan <matthewjorda at gmail.com> wrote:
		
		

			I - and as far as I'm aware, my co-students - certainly read PL on our own, in the 80s. I was advised to read it aloud; the first go took much of two days. That's not to say that I read it with Empsonian rigour or inventiveness...

			Then again, I may have had a head start: my Dad did once come home from work to find me and a couple of friends from Nursery School gazing wrapt at my Mum, in Oxford cap and gown, distracting herself from the tedium of child-minding by teaching us a class on Milton - or at least, reading aloud from him....

			Best, Matt

			On 16 September 2015 at 22:21, Richard A. Strier <rastrier at uchicago.edu> wrote:
			

				Thanks for the comment and history, but I am skeptical about one claim.  I do not believe that your students in the '80's actually could read PL on their own, with no help except historical and critical contextualization.  Maybe they were better at faking it, but the poem is not easy, on first acquaintance, for ANYONE to read.  So again -- though I may indeed be mistaken -- think that the contrast is being overdrawn.
				
				RS
				
				________________________________________
				From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] on behalf of Crystal L Bartolovich [clbartol at syr.edu]
				Sent: Wednesday, September 16, 2015 12:20 PM
				To: milton-l at lists.richmond.edu
				Subject: [Milton-L] response to Richard Strier, et al, on Greenblatt
				

				Totally agree with Richard that Greenblatt appears to give up too easily
				in that piece.
				
				But, on the other hand, I must admit that I have had to shift the teaching
				of my upper division Milton class considerably over the years. When I
				first started teaching as a grad student in the 1980s, I could presume
				that most students could get Shakespeare AND Milton on their own and so I
				spent class time only on broader critical and historical issues.  I
				definitely cannot make that assumption with Milton now or an alarming
				number of students would fail.
				
				Even honors students truly cannot read Milton at first AT ALL.  So, at the
				beginning of the term, I have to have the students read a few lines out
				loud and venture to say what they mean‹ every student, in turn, in every
				class.  THIS IS REALLY REALLY HARD for my students (who are not U Chicago
				undergrads, admittedly) to do, but between this rigorous in-class work,
				and ample paraphrasing homework, most of them DO get it, and we can spend
				time on more sophisticated questions of interpretation.
				
				But some of them require very considerable coaching during office hours
				until the very end, and a few fail.  So I don¹t think that the diagnosis
				of less verbal facility is false, but rather that there are antidotes
				other than throwing in the towel and letting them make films or
				whatever‹and that those other remedies are more valuable.
				
				By far I get the most notes of appreciation from Milton students, saying
				how proud they are that they stuck the course out and how much they
				learned.
				
				
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