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Milton 11

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McGill University
English (Arts)
ENGL 316
Maggie Kilgour

Sept 29 - "be wise and taste" - Comus (like a dry run for Satan in Paradise Lost) Areopagitica - uses the digestive system as a metaphor for taste - ties in with Milton's insistence that the material world is good, as it is tied to the spiritual world - Milton sees us as holistic beings - he draws on this metaphor as well because he wants to emphasize that reading is like reading because it, too, nourishes us - Johnson complains that Milton is "too much shaped by books" - Milton says that you must be careful what you read, because literature has an impact: we're not passive recipients - we have to have strong stomachs to digest what we take in - think of taste as an intellectual taste - sapare (from which "sapiens" comes) we think of as "knowing" but it originally comes from "taste" - Areopagitica celebrates our reading - it's not really an original work, but it's elegant and rhetorically powerful - we study literature so that we can speak well etc - the other argument that Milton makes is that there is a value to a liberal humanities education - most things were written in Latin, which restricted education to the privileged - the Bible was very important to the increase in literacy rates (it used to be only available in its original languages) - first full English Bible is the King James Bible: implication that he kept it in his power because he wanted it to be read only under supervision. interpretation is still only in the power of the ministers - it's a manner of controlling what people think - they don't want the lower classes to read and think for itself - parliament is in danger of becoming the very tyranny that they tried to overthrow - in order to make his point effective, he begins representing censorship as murder, saying that books are alive - Milton uses a lot of bodily imagery: he's very interested in bodily functions - he's not trying to make an abstract, intellectual argument, he's trying to move us - the power of print, its ability to reach more pe
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