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TomF
08-24-2007, 02:35 PM
Blah blah.

Milton said Adam was great, Eve wasn't, and that thereafter women ought to kowtow to their husbands. Been repeated quite literally as Holy Writ in centuries of sermons.

Is it an obligation of professors to simply point out Milton's use of rhythm and diction in his verse, or also how the ideas he's presented have been influential?

Perhaps now the other thread can get back to physics, and Flew.

t

peb
08-24-2007, 02:46 PM
Blah blah.

Milton said Adam was great, Eve wasn't, and that thereafter women ought to kowtow to their husbands. Been repeated quite literally as Holy Writ in centuries of sermons.

Is it an obligation of professors to simply point out Milton's use of rhythm and diction in his verse, or also how the ideas he's presented have been influential?

Perhaps now the other thread can get back to physics, and Flew.

t

TomF, you are one of the few reasonable opponents. Surely you are not upset with Sam about that thread diversion? If so, there is no hope for this place.

TomF
08-24-2007, 03:15 PM
Peb,

Trouble is, I was learning something on the other thread. I've not read much physics, but was getting quite interested in the space-time stuff, and descriptions of general relativity. Our excursion into that old thread's content has entirely wiped the board clean of what was getting me hopped up.

And yeah, I have strong feelings about the utility of using various different lenses to examine texts. Milton, certainly - others too. By no means would I suggest that Milton himself would be at home among contemporary gender studies professors ... However, looking at how gender is presented in Milton is vastly revealing.

Revealing of the man himself, and of his times. Revealing also that Milton's Paradise Lost quite literally was substituted for Scripture, or used as exegesis of the biblical texts, for hundreds of years. While Milton isn't the same force in English literature as Shakespeare, he's not too far behind in some circles.

Look, in the hard sciences, we develop new technologies or heuristic approaches all the time to examine old artifacts. Carbon dating, MRI scans, you name it. Is it illegitimate or anachronistic to carbon date an ancient object? To use contemporary technology or heuristic approaches to learn something about an old object?

How about doing chemical analyses of the inks used by, say, Milton. Might tell us something useful, unexpected - or tell us nothing.

A theory, in the arts or social sciences, is just a theory - a perspective. Use it to see if it tells you something interesting - if not, get off it. In Milton's case, gender studies perspectives can tell us something important, not least because Milton himself imbued his work with very strong gender roles. Did he anticipate Queer Studies, or TransGender/Post-colonial deconstruction? Of course not!

Nor should, in my view, any theoretical perspective or approach be allowed to become more important than the piece of art itself - what it meant in its time, the beauty of its language or construction, its ability to transmit (quite frankly) a sense of the divine. I'm appalled when the story is lost in the theoretical rush to impose a professor's own ideological agenda.

But I'm also appalled when academics don't do their due diligence, in drawing students' attention to the significant impacts of the works they study. In Milton, gender is one of those impacts.

peb
08-24-2007, 03:41 PM
Tom, I don't want to start up the debate about Wolf and Milton. Your posts give me the impression that you blamed Sam for the major topic drift. Placing that blame on him would be totally unfair.

TomF
08-24-2007, 04:03 PM
Fair enough. Tom M felt that Sam had demonstrated illogic in the Flew thread, and brought up the Woolf thing as an example of where Sam's been illogical before. Sam had nothing to do with bringing Virginia into the discussion of modern physics.

There are thread drift starters, and thread drift sustainers. I was becoming one of the latter in that thread, by feeling myself pulled into a very tangential (at least, tangential to physics and Flew) discussion about Milton. Didn't like it, so did something different. And will stop arguing about Woolf over there, whether or not Sam takes a jaunt over here.