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Lecture

Milton 8

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Department
English (Arts)
Course
ENGL 316
Professor
Maggie Kilgour
Semester
Fall

Description
Sept 22 - Milton takes something in his own life and tries to expand it and make it more significant (which he does a lot) - he's trying to imagine a relationship between fathers and sons that is not oedipal, they love each other - relationship with Shakespeare: - according to Bloom, all post-Miltonic poets are struggling with their literary inheritance of Milton: they are sort of in the role of his Satan - however, Bloom doesn't really see how Milton was a positive influence - Bloom thinks that things are too easy for Milton, and that he doesn't have any pressure, however Milton is an extremely independent thinker who is stuck with being dependent on others, which is something that he really struggles with - Milton's first publication binds him to Shakespeare, which probably made him a little bit upset - Ben Jonson isn't normally as messy as he seems to be in the title of his poem "To the memory of my beloved the author, Mr. William Shakespeare and what he hath left us" - Jonson seems to be similar to Milton - there's a contrast in this poem, like L'Allegro/Il Penseroso - line 47: he points out that Shakespeare didn't need the high learning because art came naturally to him - he's a natural artist according to both Jonson and Milton: like the warbling thing - he's unselfconscious and inartificial - Jonson gets nervous because of this, since he's not like this and thus doesn't think that it's a good way for a poet to be - at the end of the poem, he then goes off to say that there's actually more to Shakespeare - “a good poet's made as well as born" - he gives us his own description of what a poet should be - makes Shakespeare out to be someone like he was, like a craftsman, rather than a prophet or a genius - he is also concerned with how Shakespeare is going to influence other writers - he makes Shakespeare out to be a father who lives on through the artists who follow him - he makes Shakespeare a star that shines down and influences others (like astrology) - Milton has kind of a dialogue with this Jonson poem (even with the star) - Shakespeare lives on in his verse, which means that he doesn't need a tomb to immortalize him - Milton begins to shift the terms a little: implies that he lives on in his work, but he needs people to actually read his work (reminder of the importance of the reader) - he doesn't need a monument, because if we think too much about Shakespeare, then we become his monument ourselves - poem is at two levels: it both praises and celebrates him while also saying something else about him - in reading Shakespeare, we become marble: this is kind of a bad thing - this is something that literally petrifies us - when you have a great writer just before you, this is kind of petrifying, especially when you're a different kind of writer - Shakespeare's poetry flows like water - Milton is much slower at everything: his poetry takes time - this means that Shakespeare could be scaring Milton off; he can't flow, so it may make him think that he can't do anything - Milton wants to show that what he does is just as important as what Shakespeare does - Jonson's poem ends with Shakespeare becoming a father figure: Milton calls him the "son" of memory and the "heir" of fame - these are the muses - which makes it like Milton is making Shakespeare out to be less of a writer in his own right and more of a source of inspiration - Shakespeare needs us to keep him alive - the situation of who is dependent on whom is reversed at the end - Milton is going to become aware that his own name relies upon his readers - Milton did have
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