[DWJ] Query on DWJ and Milton

Kyra Jucovy arykiy at gmail.com
Wed Oct 1 06:47:25 EDT 2014


You're welcome, Jameela - it's great to hear you find it interesting as
well as to hear your perspective on the relationship between Milton and the
Romantics.  I definitely found it easier to write about Byron and Keats -
Keats is really easy to write about - but I think Shelley is awesome, and I
genuinely do suspect that it may be because I recognize something in
Shelley that I encountered much earlier in DWJ.

Since Janet asked, I guess I will send my notes to the list, but I'm very
embarrassed by it given how incoherent they probably are!

---Kyra

On Tue, Sep 30, 2014 at 5:46 PM, Jameela Lares <jameela.lares at usm.edu>
wrote:

> Wow, Kyra, this is fascinating.  Thanks so much for going into so much
> detail.  I'm going to have to read all this more closely with a cup of
> coffee once I get through the next day or so.  Heck, I might even reread
> THB.
>
> Yes, I was kidding about Milton's not having read Shelley, but only just,
> as it seems to me sometimes that some of my Milton colleagues see the
> Romantic response to Milton to be "what Milton actually meant" or
> something, which to my mind rather misreads both periods.  But I do love
> Shelley as a poet. He is my favorite Romantic. I don't see doing any
> scholarship in that area, but Shelley--!
>
> I understand feeling intimidated by a figure or--in my case--a topic.  For
> some reason, I never feel up to Milton's _Samson Agonistes_.  For some
> reason, I get this Mike Myers "I'm not worthy!" reaction to it.
>
> Thanks again for all this.  I hope someone else will respond to your
> offering as well. There is lots to talk about here, I think.
>
> Jameela Lares
> Professor of English
> The University of Southern Mississippi
> 118 College Drive, #5037
> Hattiesburg, MS  39406-0001
> 601 266-4319 ofc
> 601 266-5757 fax
> ________________________________________
> From: Dwj [dwj-bounces at suberic.net] on behalf of Kyra Jucovy [
> arykiy at gmail.com]
> Sent: Monday, September 29, 2014 8:47 PM
> To: Diana Wynne Jones discussion
> Subject: Re: [DWJ] Query on DWJ and Milton
>
> Not at all, Jameela, I'm sure that I was being excessively oblique since I
> was so excited to respond to your query that I did it in rather a rush when
> I was supposed to be going somewhere else ;-)
>
> Anyway, I assume you were just joking about Milton reading Shelley and are
> aware of this already, but for the benefit of any interested readers who
> are not, in the preface to *Prometheus Unbound*, Shelley directly
> references Milton a couple of times, in particular making comparisons
> between Satan and Prometheus suggesting some influence of Milton on
> Shelley's choice and treatment of his subject: "The only imaginary being,
> resembling in any degree Prometheus, is Satan; and Prometheus is, in my
> judgment, a more poetical character than Satan, because, in addition to
> courage, and majesty, and firm and patient opposition to omnipotent force,
> he is susceptible of being described as exempt from the taints of ambition,
> envy, revenge, and a desire for personal aggrandizement, which, in the hero
> of *Paradise Lost*, interfere with the interest. The character of Satan
> engenders in the mind a pernicious casuistry which leads us to weigh his
> faults with his wrongs, and to excuse the former because the latter exceed
> all measure. In the minds of those who consider that magnificent fiction
> with a religious feeling it engenders something worse. But Prometheus is,
> as it were, the type of the highest perfection of moral and intellectual
> nature impelled by the purest and the truest motives to the best and
> noblest ends."
>
> As for the link between Shelley and *The Homeward Bounders*, well (she said
> modestly), that's my own work -  back in 2006, I was getting a MA in
> English and taking a wonderful graduate course on the Younger Romantics,
> and ended up writing Minnow from this list (who knew DWJ personally) to ask
> her about any connection between Shelley and THB:
> "Anyway, you probably don't remember this, but, a year and a half ago, when
> I was reading through the English canon and studying for graduate school, I
> wrote a post about *The Homeward Bounders* and Shelley and Platonism. At
> the time, I thought it was interesting to compare Shelley's writing and
> DWJ's writing about how Prometheus got unbound. Shortly thereafter, I
> actually reread THB and enjoyed the book more than ever - I also thought
> about it a lot.
>
> Now, I'm taking a truly wonderful and inspiring course on Byron, Shelley,
> and Keats. We're currently working on Shelley, and I find myself, with each
> class session, wondering more and more to what extent DWJ was consciously
> thinking of Shelley while writing THB. To some extent, surely the
> similarities in the concerns that the two writers have are simply down to
> the fact that they're both drawing on the same myth. I mean, the story of
> this gift-giving figure who is bound for his defiance to tyranny and
> eventually winds up freed is inherently a messianic one, and any story you
> tell about him is probably going to be about revolution, about idealism, so
> on and so forth. And I do think that the views that DWJ presents on these
> issues are quite different from Shelley's in many ways (but in oh, such
> interesting ways!).
>
> But I can't help but ask, anyway. I mean, in the online lecture by DWJ
> about the Middle Ages, she says at the end "I do know really where I'm
> getting it from and it is intentional and very grateful I am too." And
> then, when we talk about Shelley in class, his concerns in general seem to
> have so much to do with THB, not just what he writes about in *Prometheus
> Unbound*. I'd never known before that he was obsessed with the figure of
> the Wandering Jew, for instance. And, going back to *Prometheus Unbound*
> itself, there's that line-and-a-bit at the end of it that says, "to hope,
> till Hope creates / From its own wreck the thing it contemplates." And I
> read that and can't help thinking about THB."
>
> And I got this response from DWJ as conveyed by Minnow: ""But Kyra is quite
> right about *THE HOMEWARD BOUNDERS*. Shelley very definitely lies behind
> it. I did a lot of work on Shelley just after I came down from Oxford and
> before I got married, and it later bore fruit. Do tell her that she is spot
> on."
>
> I am too intimidated by Shelley ever to actually write successfully about
> this, but I do have a list of rough notes on the topic that I can send you
> if you are further interested in it.  It's a bit long, though, as well as
> being fairly incoherent, so I wouldn't want to inflict it on the list ;-)
>
> ---Kyra
>
> On Tue, Sep 30, 2014 at 7:58 AM, Jameela Lares <jameela.lares at usm.edu>
> wrote:
>
> > Kyra,
> >
> > Could you explain further?  I love Shelley, including his _Prometheus
> > Unboard_, though I doubt that Milton read it (ha ha). I love as well as
> > _the Homeward Bounders_, but I don't offhand remember any reworking of
> > Shelley in that text.
> >
> > I hope I am not being impossibly thick in asking for clarification. . . .
> >
> > Jameela Lares
> > Professor of English
> > The University of Southern Mississippi
> > 118 College Drive, #5037
> > Hattiesburg, MS  39406-0001
> > 601 266-4319 ofc
> > 601 266-5757 fax
> > ________________________________________
> > From: Dwj [dwj-bounces at suberic.net] on behalf of Kyra Jucovy [
> > arykiy at gmail.com]
> > Sent: Monday, September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
> > To: Diana Wynne Jones discussion
> > Subject: Re: [DWJ] Query on DWJ and Milton
> >
> > Even if there aren't many direct references, I still feel that your
> > provocative comment remains valid, given the lineage from *Paradise
> > Lost* through
> > to *Prometheus Unbound *through to *The Homeward Bounders*. ;-)
> >
> > ----Kyra
> >
> > On Mon, Sep 29, 2014 at 11:29 PM, Jameela Lares <jameela.lares at usm.edu>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > I ran into a question on the Milton list and wondered if anyone here
> had
> > > any thoughts.  Briefly, someone in Italy asked why he did not see much
> > > Milton in Tolkien, with my taking the position that despite the fact
> that
> > > both men wrote epics, Milton would hardly have been to Tolkien's
> creative
> > > tastes.  As threads do, this one became diffuse. One of the older
> > > listmembers hadheard Tolkien lecture at Oxford.  Well, actually, he
> > > couldn't hear, so he stopped going. So I mentioned that DWJ stayed in a
> > > Tolkien lecture all term.  At which point it struck me that I have
> never
> > > particularly noticed Milton in DWJ, either, though I can't see any
> > > particular reason that she would make use of him. I don't even remember
> > > hearing if she particular read him or commented on him, but it is a bad
> > > grading (marking) period for me right now, so there is no telling what
> I
> > > usually know.
> > >
> > > So my question is if DWJ said anything about Milton or made any
> > > recognizable use of him in her works.
> > >
> > > (By the way, I often make the provocative comment to my students at the
> > > beginning of a Milton course that he summarized everything that came
> > before
> > > him and influenced everything that came after.  As a provocative
> > statement,
> > > it has its uses.  I also believe it, most days.  Even Tolkien taught
> > > Paradise Lost, books 1-2.)
> > >
> > > Cheers,
> > >
> > > Jameela Lares
> > > Professor of English
> > > The University of Southern Mississippi
> > > 118 College Drive, #5037
> > > Hattiesburg, MS  39406-0001
> > > 601 266-4319 ofc
> > > 601 266-5757 fax
> > >
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > Dwj mailing list
> > > Dwj at suberic.net
> > > http://www.suberic.net/mailman/listinfo/dwj
> > >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Dwj mailing list
> > Dwj at suberic.net
> > http://www.suberic.net/mailman/listinfo/dwj
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Dwj mailing list
> > Dwj at suberic.net
> > http://www.suberic.net/mailman/listinfo/dwj
> >
> _______________________________________________
> Dwj mailing list
> Dwj at suberic.net
> http://www.suberic.net/mailman/listinfo/dwj
>
> _______________________________________________
> Dwj mailing list
> Dwj at suberic.net
> http://www.suberic.net/mailman/listinfo/dwj
>


More information about the Dwj mailing list