[Milton-L] victory conditions

Carol Barton, Ph.D., CPCM cbartonphd1 at verizon.net
Thu Apr 14 14:50:16 EDT 2016


Greg, your argument has merits in se, as far as I'm concerned, as I tried to say earlier. If you don't like the poem, you don't like the poem--and that's that. (Different, if you're a student who is unskilled at reading poetry, and needs to be taught that not every line is end-stopped; but I think even Milton would agree that any member of "that fit audience" who is unmoved by a particular work has the right to be immobile--just as anyone who *is* touched by it has the right to find it compelling.)

You don't have to defend your aesthetic. I love the phrase "Handed they went" and the significance of hands throughout PL--but that's probably because my first Milton professor was someone whom I adored, and he was in love with that image, too. To me, it's symbolic of unfallen Eden--the Fall--and the resolution. To someone else, it might be just an awkward construction, or a clumsy one.

Best to all,

Carol Barton


From: Gregory Machacek 
Sent: Thursday, April 14, 2016 2:29 PM
To: John Milton Discussion List 
Subject: [Milton-L] victory conditions


For me to declare victory, I would have to convince a site full of Miltonists (all who weigh in; lurkers don't count one direction or the other) that "Methought I saw" is a poor sonnet.  I think I've made the stakes for myself sufficiently demanding.  Our era's tendency interpretively to recuperate poorly crafted verses is just a sub-issue of this larger challenge to which I've engaged myself.



Greg Machacek
Professor of English
Marist College


-----milton-l-bounces at richmond.edu wrote: ----- 
To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at richmond.edu>
From: John K Leonard 
Sent by: milton-l-bounces at richmond.edu
Date: 04/14/2016 01:58PM
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] is "egypt, divided by the river nile" a poor line of verse, then?



On 04/14/16, Gregory Machacek <Gregory.Machacek at marist.edu> wrote: 




  Ok, so can we get it confirmed by all of y'all that "Egypt, divided by the river Nile" is a poor line of verse?


  Because the other candidate for a bad line--"casting a dim religious light"--got championed within fourteen minutes of its being proposed as a poor line. 




Greg,


What would it take to "get it confirmed by all of y'all"? A post from every single subscriber (to be checked by you against a central database of names)? What if even one lurker remains silent? Does that mean you win your bet that someone out there is willing to pretend that bad lines are good? And what if the Egypt line is now "championed within fourteen minutes"? Does that mean everyone ("y'all") is implicated in a bad faith endeavour to make bad lines look good? What if I (who offered this an instance of a bad line) am persuaded by A. N. Other's argument that it is good? Would that make me complicit in a bad faith conspiracy? There is something false about your "Greg against the Miltonists" rhetoric. The cards are hugely stacked in your favour because any disagreement on the part of "y'all" (everyone but you) can be presented by you as evidence of "y'all's" bad faith. But for you to claim victory you have only to agree with yourself (and who among us does not find that easy?).


All best,


John






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