Thursday, August 09, 2018

Grace Shulman Speaks on Jefferson and Milton

There's some squabble going on about some poet or other who, though not African American, used African American lingo in a prize-winning poem published in the Nation. Both the poet and the Nation have apologized. I haven't seen the poem. I address a different issue here, namely, individual influence.

Here are some words of note by Grace Shulman in her comment
on the Nation's apology for publishing a poem many found offensive.
Shulman was critical of the apology, but she misattributed
some words to Milton and was apologetic about that:
Correction: August 5, 2018
An earlier version of this article misattributed a quotation;
it was Thomas Jefferson, not John Milton,
who said that "error of opinion may be tolerated
where reason is left free to combat it."
But one can see how Jefferson's view derives from Milton's view in Areopagitica:
And though all the windes of doctrin were let loose
to play upon the earth, so Truth be in the field,
we do injuriously, by licencing and prohibiting
to misdoubt her strength.
Let her and Falshood grapple;
who ever knew Truth put to the wors,
in a free and open encounter.
Her confuting is the best and surest suppressing.
Jefferson knew his sources well, no doubt (and I borrowed my Milton sources from the Dartmouth site), so there is more than lingo at stake here when one speaks of influence.

Something to think about . . .

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At 2:34 AM, Blogger Carter Kaplan said...

Milton's place in the formulation of modern democratic-republican government needs to be explored in detail, both as a "standard" exercise for students and in the scholarship.

I discuss this at length in my Afterward in the International Authors edition of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter.

Please see HERE

Also, here is the book on Amazon: HERE

At 6:59 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, Carter.

Jeffery Hodges

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