[Milton-L] finding the bad in what you find good

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Sat Apr 16 13:16:35 EDT 2016

I very much agree with Hugh's comment below, but I'd like to qualify it a

Since the discussion here has been really very good and instructive,
perhaps Milton's possible imperfections (maybe it's too much to call it
"bad" verse?) are worth attending to? So truly bad verse should just be
ignored, but the potential flaws of great poets might be instructive, just
like the flaws of great critics.

Secondly, there are practical reasons to attend to flaws at times too, even
with lesser works. To return to my Elton John example, in one scene of the
2001 film adaptation of *Moulin Rouge*, Ewan McGregor at one point sings
"Your Song" to Nicole Kidman.

I first saw the film with my wife, probably at home a couple of years after
it came out. I managed not to notice how melty she got whenever McGregor
was on screen, but it was impossible to ignore her almost swooning when he
sang that song.

And that's when my critical faculties came into play: "You know he's
singing that song without paying any attention to what the words mean. He's
just belting it out."

"Oh yes, I know." (Swoon).

Sometimes we don't want to enhance appreciation.

Jim R

On Sat, Apr 16, 2016 at 11:56 AM, Hugh M. RICHMOND <hmr at berkeley.edu> wrote:

> Bad verse should simply be ignored, not labored over. Our role is to
> enhance appreciation, not diminish it.
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