[Milton-L] (no subject)

Brendan Prawdzik brendanprawdzik at gmail.com
Sun May 21 01:50:33 EDT 2017


Dear scholars,

Things are quiet, so I figure that I would venture a popular media Milton
sighting.

There is an odd HBO series called "The Leftovers," which follows several
people in a quasi-post-apocalyptic / pre-millennial contemporary world.

(I write neither to criticize nor to praise the show; take it as you will.)

The most recent episode (season 3, episode 5) features a former preacher,
Matt, who is obsessed with understanding the reasoning or will or purpose
behind what is called the "great disappearance," a global event when one in
five humans had suddenly vanished.

Matt and his little group need to get to Australia, and a nuclear incident
in the South Pacific requires them to take a ferry.  On this ferry is a
large gathering of debauchees merrily immersed in nudity, open sex,
alcohol, and drugs of all flavors.

In fact, these ravers are komastes (komazontes), followers of Comus,
Bacchae, etc.   They wear animal heads as do Milton's man-beasts.

The scene in question occurs when Matt finds himself in the midst of some
sort of debauched rave.  He is singled out and fettered to a chair.  Like
Milton's Lady, he cannot move.  What will they do to him?  Tear him apart?
Eat him?  Torture him?

No.  During a choreographed ritual, a naked woman (all are naked, except
Matt) crawls to Matt and attempts to perform a sex act upon him.  I
immediately thought of Debora Shuger's discussion of involuntary arousal
and emission, particularly as in Augustine, in her explanation of the
"gumms of glutenous heat" that affix the Lady to a chair, paralyzed.

But Matt, resisting against himself, breaks from the fetters and pronounces
a condemnation (which the komastes/ravers promptly disregard).

My only point here is that this scene appears to appropriate imagery, form,
and, ideas from the banquet scene of Milton's *Maske*.

Brendan

-- 
Dr. Brendan Prawdzik


BA Rutgers University, 2001
PhD The University of California, Berkeley, 2009
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