[Milton-L] Pass the salt.

Richard A. Strier rastrier at uchicago.edu
Mon Sep 4 16:54:40 EDT 2017


I have been reacting to the "all the way down" idea -- not to the idea that there are complexities and ambiguities in PL and much other literature.


But I would want to maintain, as others have done in this conversation, that not every claim or line in PL is ambiguous.  Again, I would say:  how could that be?  Even Finnegan's Wake has its univocal moments.


But we have probably, and with (I believe) good humor on all parts, reached a happy end to this string.
________________________________
From: milton-l-bounces at richmond.edu <milton-l-bounces at richmond.edu> on behalf of James Rovira <jamesrovira at gmail.com>
Sent: Monday, September 4, 2017 3:36:53 PM
To: John Milton Discussion List
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Pass the salt.

I think we both agree on that point, Richard. Doesn't it follow, then, that when there is considerable distance from an originary social context (say, between Milton's time and our own?) that the possibility for misunderstanding rises considerably? There's the added complexity of a fictional social context guiding Paradise Lost on top of that (even if you believe in a real Adam and Eve and Garden of Eden, you can't believe Milton was describing the real thing), and the fact that he's engaged in more complex utterances than "pass the salt."

The problem I see is not with saying that the meaning of "pass the salt" is perfectly obvious to a social insider, but with making a similar claim of the obvious for PL or any of the sonnets.

Jim R
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