I didn't mean to set Milton against his time or anything else. I
meant only that I read PL as a poem that is self-contained, though I
try to understand what it contains; the two immediate elements are the
King James (is that right?) Bible and the work of John Milton.. My
mistake was in expanding "Milton." I'll probably not get it right,
again, if I say that a particular person, of a particular time (though
not a spokesman for that time), with particular interests, talents, etc.
wrote the poem. It is his poem, he gets to demonstrate what
constitutes conversation in the world of the poem. I don't think in
terms of point of view -- the technical sense relating to the art of
fiction doesn't apply to poetry, and the everyday sense is too small for
me in talking about poems. We may be thinking the same thing and using
Remember that Carrol brought up Milton's notion of conversation.
You asked if there is any conversation in the poem and I responded. I
don't hold him to any standard, in his poems, but his own. I don't
know, as I said, more than I did say about M and conversation. I
haven't yet looked to see where and how (if) he uses the word or other
instances of rendered talking that might qualify for conversation. I
haven't looked at the historical use of the word. I can't hold Milton
to an anachronistic definition, Bahtin 's ideas, for instance. In this
we differ in our approach to reading. It may be that we have to wait
until Carrol has time to explain why he used "conversation.".
Neither do I read Paradise Lost as I do the Areopagitica. It is
more than the difference between a poem and an oration (for lack of
better description) written down. While the poem is full of ideas, it
is hard to think of it as "treating issues."
Of such differences of approach is academic banter born.
Nancy Gish wrote:
>If you read it from what appears to be Milton's point of view, I think you do
>get "conversation." I cannot read it that way. It is not simply a matter of
>his time either, as there were women in the 17th C who strongly disagreed
>with his kind of traditional assumptions. For me "conversation" is dialogic
>in Bahktin's sense--real differentiation and many points of view.
>I can never ultimately decide if TWL is dialogic or not. I can read it both
>ways, and have. But I don't think PL is at all. On the other hand, I feel
>very differently about the way he treated issues in "Areopagitica." He was
>very mixed. Again, that is from memory, not recent reading. Milton's
>point of view is not what defines it for me. I do think PL is wonderful poetry