[Milton-L] is "egypt, divided by the river nile" a poor line of verse, then?

John K Leonard jleonard at uwo.ca
Thu Apr 14 18:14:28 EDT 2016


Thank you for this, Hugh. Deeply moving. 

On 04/14/16, "Hugh M. RICHMOND"  <hmr at berkeley.edu> wrote:
>  I have just completed a Milton course in which I celebrated the Sonnet on his dead wife as the climax of his self-recognition, which was the necessary precedent for his pending poetic triumphs. When I read it aloud to audiences I find its personal immediacy has enormous dramatic impact. So this time I used the memorable recitation of the poem by Ian Richardson to communicate its full emotional potential, as found on our website at miltonrevealed.berkeley.edu(http://miltonrevealed.berkeley.edu) at the following address:
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> http://miltonrevealed.berkeley.edu/videos/john-miltons-sonnet-xxiii-his-dead-wife-1658-ian-richardson
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> Some of the earlier discussion echoes the Augustan criteria by which Waller was celebrated as a leading poet, because he never wrote an incorrect line. But effective performance is everything!
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> On Thu, Apr 14, 2016 at 10:51 AM, John K Leonard <jleonard at uwo.ca> wrote:
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> > On 04/14/16, Gregory Machacek  <Gregory.Machacek at marist.edu> wrote:
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> > > 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?
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> > > 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. 
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> > Greg,
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> > 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?).
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> > All best,
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> > John
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