ENG303H1 Lecture Notes - Areopagitica, Presbyter, Misogyny

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Published on 5 Feb 2013
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Temptation scene in masque like allegory in Spenser, test of temperance
Lady bound in chair
Shouldn’t hoard but share treasure
Carpe diem classic trope of seizing the day [problematic masculine way of desiring
woman before grow old]
Recognizing role as sexual
Image of chaste female, classic trope of locked body closed mouth
Brothers fail to take wand from him and he escapes temptation implied to always be
out there
Can’t undo spell
Last thing lady says is to threat sacred vehemence (not actual, but threat)
Lady as early precursor to Eve
Milton not a simple misogynist
Domestic and personal liberty
Freedom of speech, religion, marriage
Areopagitica
Licensing and freedom of the press
Styling self into modern Socrates
If ye be thus resolv'd, as it were injury to think ye were not; I know not what should
withhold me from presenting ye with fit instance wherein to shewboth that love of
truth which ye eminently professe, and that uprightnesse of your judgement which
is not wont to be partiall to your selves; by judging over again that Order which ye
have ordain'd to regulate Printing, That no Book, pamphlet, or paper shall be
henceforth Printed, unlesse the same be first approv'd andlicenc't by such, or at least
one of such as shall be thereto appointed.
After elaborate setup, get to point
For that part which preserves justly every mans Copy to himselfe, or provides for
the poor, I touch not, only wish they be not made pretenses to abuse and persecute
honest and painfull Men, who offend not in either of these particulars. But that other
clause of Licencing Books, which we thought had dy'd with his
brother quadragesimal and matrimonial when the Prelats expir'd, I shall now attend
with such a Homily, as shall lay before ye, first the inventors of it to bee those whom
ye will be loath to own; next what is to be thought in generall of reading, what ever
sort the Books be; and that this Order avails nothing to the suppressing of
scandalous, seditious, and libellous Books, which were mainly intended to
be supprest. Last, that it will be primely to the discouragement of all learning, and
the stop of Truth, not only by disexercising and blunting our abilities in what we
know already, but by hindring and cropping the discovery that might bee yet further
made both in religious and civillWisdome.
Classic setup of outlining what he will talk about… history of licensing, usage…
English people just rousing out of childish, tyrannical rule
Personifies books as living figures
o I deny not, but that it is of greatest concernment in the Church and
Commonwealth, to have a vigilant eye how Bookes demeane themselves as
well as men; and thereafter to confine, imprison, and do sharpest justice on
them as malefactors: For Books are not absolutely dead things,
but doe contain apotencie of life in them to be as active as that soule was
whose progeny they are; nay they do preserve as in a violl the
purest efficacie and extraction of that living intellect that bred them. I know
they are as lively, and as vigorously productive, as those fabulous Dragons
teeth; and being sown up and down, may chance to spring up armed men.
And yet on the other hand, unlesse warinesse be us'd, as good almost kill a
Man as kill a good Book; who kills a Man kills a reasonable
creature, Gods Image; but hee who destroyes a good Booke, kills reason
it selfe, kills the Image of God, as it were in the eye. Many a man lives a
burden to the Earth; but a good Booke is the pretious life-blood of a master
spirit, imbalm'd and treasur'd up on purpose to a life beyond life.
Famous paragraph, striking image
Acknowledge that books can be problems, but still essence of writer, need to pay
attention
Killing idea that could live on, something most essential to man…
Book as distillation of God’s image, since man is in his image
Beloved passage because idealizes value of books, virtue of reading
But start to sound like Catholic idolatry/fetishsm of book as object
Substituting inward faith for external object what Milton hates but strange for him to
fetishize book as reason
Turning to books and use of reading in second section
Dionysius Alexandrinus was about the year 240, a person of great name in the
Church for piety and learning, who had wont to avail himself much
against hereticks by being conversant in their Books; untill a certain Presbyter laid
it scrupulously to his conscience, how he durst venture himselfe among those
defiling volumes. The worthy man loath to give offence fell into a new debate
with himselfe what was to be thought; when suddenly a vision sent from God, it is
his own Epistle that so averrs it, confirm'd him in these words: Read any books what
ever come to thy hands, for thou art sufficient both to judge aright, and to examine
each matter.
To the pure, all things are pure, not only meats and drinks, but all kinde of
knowledge whether of good or evill; the knowledge cannot defile, nor consequently
the books, if the will and conscience be not defil'd.
For books are as meats and viands are; some of good, some of evill substance; and
yet God in that unapocryphall vision, said without exception, Rise Peter, kill and eat,
leaving the choice to each mans discretion. Wholesome meats to a
vitiated stomack differ little or nothing from unwholesome; and best books to a
naughty mind are not unappliable to occasions ofevill. Bad meats will scarce breed
good nourishment in the healthiest concoction; but herein the difference is of bad
books, that they to a discreet and judicious Reader serve in many respects to
discover, to confute, to forewarn, and to illustrate.
Good/bad meat doesn’t matter for spoiled stomach
Best books to bad mind
Good meat/good books, bad meat has difference with bad books (can be useful,
function)
Suggesting books don’t really have effect, not necessarily threat
Not save or corrupt
Interested in what books can help us to learn to do for self vs books good or bad
Good and evill we know in the field of this World grow up together almost
inseparably; and the knowledge of good is so involv'd and interwoven with the
knowledge of evill, and in so many cunning resemblances hardly to bediscern'd, that
those confused seeds which were impos'd on Psyche as an incessant labour to cull
out, and sort asunder, were not more intermixt. It was from out the rinde of one
apple tasted, that the knowledge of good and evill as two twins cleaving
together leapt forth into the World. And perhaps this is that doom which Adam fell
into of knowing good and evill, that is to say of knowing good by evil
Good/evil -> left/right.. can only define each other with opposition to other
Since the fall, things mixed up
Knowledge of evil gives knowledge of good
Could we have known what was good before fruit,,,
Psyche’s extraneous labuor
Trial is what purifies
I cannot praise a fugitive andcloister'd vertue, unexercis'd & unbreath'd, that never
sallies out and sees her adversary, but slinks out of the race, where
that immortall garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat. Assuredly we
bring not innocence into the world, we bring impurity much rather: that which
purifies us is triall, andtriall is by what is contrary. That vertue therefore which is
but a youngling in the contemplation of evill, and knows not the utmost that vice
promises to her followers, and rejects it, is but a blank vertue, not a pure;
her whitenesse is but an excrementall whitenesse
No wisdom without choice
Don't’ bring innocence but purity… what purifies is trial, exercising virtue
If cloister self, just blank, not pure
Not inherent but imposed
Not just fetishizing books but how to efficiently manage own capacity
many there be that complain of divin Providence for suffering Adam to transgresse,
foolish tongues!
Why would God allow Adam to fall
when God gave him reason, he gave him freedom to choose, for reason is but
choosing; he had bin else a meer artificiall Adam, such an Adam as he is in the motions. We
our selves esteem not of that obedience, or love, or gift, which is of force: God therefore left
him free, set before him a provoking object, ever almost in his eyes herein consisted his
merit, herein the right of his reward, the praise of his abstinence. Wherefore did
he creat passions within us, pleasures round about us, but that these rightly temper'd are
the very ingredients of vertu? They are not skilfull considerers of human things,
who imagin to remove sin by removing the matter of sin;

Document Summary

Temptation scene in masque like allegory in spenser, test of temperance. Carpe diem classic trope of seizing the day [problematic masculine way of desiring woman before grow old] Brothers fail to take wand from him and he escapes temptation implied to always be. Image of chaste female, classic trope of locked body closed mouth out there. Last thing lady says is to threat sacred vehemence (not actual, but threat) Classic setup of outlining what he will talk about history of licensing, usage . English people just rousing out of childish, tyrannical rule. Personifies books as living figures: i deny not, but that it is of greatest concernment in the church and. I know they are as lively, and as vigorously productive, as those fabulous dragons teeth; and being sown up and down, may chance to spring up armed men. And yet on the other hand, unlesse warinesse be us"d, as good almost kill a.