[Milton-L] Milton's Deliberate Ambiguities

Steve Fallon sfallon at nd.edu
Sun Sep 3 17:38:13 EDT 2017

I'm not clear what is gained by denying to ports the top of ambiguity. One
of the glories of poetry is compression, the ability to day much in a few
words, our to say, as Milton put it, where is meant than meets the ear.
There can, of course, be overreadings, but for me it remains that one of
the glories of 116 is continued meanings in tension.

Sent from my Android with its unruly Autocorrect

On Sep 3, 2017 4:58 PM, "Hugh M. RICHMOND" <hmr at berkeley.edu> wrote:

> The attempts to make the Shakespeare sonnets 116 & 130 ambiguous
> illustrates my point perfectly: that the ambiguity lies in the mind of the
> critic. The explicit sense of both sonnets is made vividly and consistently
>  clear:  ‘I will not admit that true love requires perfection in the
> beloved.” That point of view is all I am interested in, as that of WS since
> it also explains many of the plot and character details in the plays. All
> the destructive conjectures of hypothetical subsidiary meanings originate
> with the critic, which leaves us with just a confused heap of depressing
> wreckage. For fuller discussion of these issues see my essay on “The Dark
> Lady as Reformation Mistress” and other essays in my *academia.edu
> <http://academia.edu>* folder.
>   As for Miltonic complexities, I recall one of my better students
> progressing enthusiastically from my naive Milton course of 200 students to
> my office-mate’s, the Great Fish’s  Milton seminar - and disappearing
> into modern American literature thereafter. Years later she told me “You
> were wrong about Milton’s positive value, and Fish is right about how he
> tricks readers - I hate Milton and will never read him again.” No wonder
> university presses no longer  want to print such sophisticated literary
> criticism showing everything is too complicated to understand or enjoy. HR
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