Thursday, June 29, 2006

"And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power."

'Bonnie' Johnnie Milton
Well-Mannered English Poet
(As Courteously Portrayed By Wikipedia)

Word is still out on "virtue, freedom, power," but it seems that Milton did remind us of our manners, or so says Arvind Thomas, "Milton and Table Manners," in the Milton Quarterly (March 2006), Volume 40, Issue 1:

The Fall, as Milton's Paradise Lost makes unequivocally clear, occurs within the context of disorderly eating. Unlike the earlier scenes of mannerly and communal eating, the scene of the consumption of the forbidden fruit throws into relief the willful violation of manners that both Adam and Eve have up to that point observed. Eve gorges the proscribed apple in silence; Adam makes no attempt to converse on edifying topics while partaking of the fruit; the eating excites their libido and produces indigestion apart from awakening the sense of shame that neither possessed until then.
I haven't yet read this article, but I intend to, and for those interested, it's currently (as of June 29, 2006) online.

Sorry that today's entry is so brief, but I've still got those promises to keep...

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At 5:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting article. Pity you're on the run...because this post really could run and run.

At 1:53 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I've finshed those promises (more now looming on the horizen), so I'll read the article soon.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 4:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here Milton is employing a well-known epic convention of disorder at a feast. He was of course modeling Paradise Lost (and his literary career) after Virgil, but it appears in other Classical epics as well as some with which Milton was most likely not familiar, such as Beowulf.

At 4:51 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

In Beowulf, too? Do you mean the eating itself, or the manners of Unferth?

I guess that I'd better read this article soon.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 6:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When it comes to Heorot, I was thinking specifically of Unferth's breach of order and hospitality, which seems to be attributed to his drunkeness. But there's the Finn episode as well--which is not exactly sloppy table manners but certainly a violation of mores.


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