Monday, September 24, 2007

Still searching what we know not, by what we know

I just finished Areopagitica, which I'm teaching tomorrow.

I cry every time I read it.

God, I'm a dork.

4 comments:

Mel said...

thank goodness, right? It's great to have those particular texts to teach that remind us why bother. (for me it's Tennyson)

medieval woman said...

that's lovely, Flavia - what about it makes you cry? I've never read it (she says sheepishly). But I cry when I read Book V Canto 2 of The Faerie Queene...

Neophyte said...

Yes, and a dork in the best possible way.

I find this little statement very reassuring.

Flavia said...

MW: well, I don't know, exactly. If you mean what part makes me cry, it's really that whole section about piecing back together the body of Truth. And so in part I think it's that image, as a metaphor for the scholarly life, that gets to me--the simultaneous necessity and futility of our attempts to recover or fully understand the past.

And that's a nice answer, for an academic, but that's not all it is. I actually started crying reading passages of the divorce tracts last week, and I think for the same reason: there's just something about Milton's seeming sense of absolute conviction--his utopianism, and his belief that people are fully rational beings who, once they have the "facts" presented to them, will immediately and joyfully change their ways--that I find profoundly moving.