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Areopagitica
Tuesday July 01st 2008, 1:09 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

First and foremost, reading Milton’s prose out loud definitely made a difference for understanding the points he’s making.  The first half of Areopagitica came way more easily to me than The Reason of Church-Government and Apology for Smectymnuus.  The part that struck me the most thus far is on pages 200-201, when Milton attempts to fully define what a book is and what its greater meaning is.  This passage is reminiscent of the part in Apology for Smectymnuus where Milton unites humans and poems and tries to explain how he is in fact a poem.  He starts by claiming that books are not dead, and that they have souls because they carry a part of the soul of their creator.  He then discusses how to kill a man is to kill a reasonable creature in God’s Image, and to destroy a book is to kill reason itself.  Essentially Milton uses the transitive property of logic and mathematics to argue that: Books are alive and contain man’s soul, man is made in the image of God, therefore if killing a man is killing the image of God, then doing the same to a book would be just as horrific.  Though this point is obviously exagerrated for effect, Milton is suggesting that burning of books is equal to if not worse than murder.  He even goes on to say, “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”.  Milton demonstrates the extreme importance of literary freedom and preservation in this bizarre, and yet incredibly clever manner. 




[…] Original post by hermes […]

Pingback by Comic Romance » Blog Archive » Areopagitica 07.01.08 @ 3:23 pm

It is so great that Milton has such passion for books as to give them human significance. I agree!! He definitely supports the freedom of speech, and the freedom to one’s informed opinion. Taking this, and taking that humans should be poems, too, he is really making this back and forth conversation between one’s life and one’s words. To any writer, this concept is so valid and empathized. Wonderful!

Comment by bdevries 07.02.08 @ 12:45 am

I thought his descriptions of the lifeblood of books were just amazing. What great quotable material!

Comment by Madeline 07.02.08 @ 5:37 am