[lit-ideas] "Miltonic"

  • From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 19 May 2004 20:25:07 EDT

In a message dated 5/19/2004 6:13:02 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
wells001@xxxxxxxxxxxx writes:
>is there any
>writer who has ever embraced Milton's style?

I guess so.

Out of curiosity, I checked the 'Milton' related entries in the Oxford 
English Dictionary (cites appended below). 'Milton' is a kind of oyster, too, 
the OED says the etym. here is dubious. 

Anyway, lots of quotes for Miltonian, Miltonic, Miltonist, and even a verb, 

Hopefully, it may help locate what authors are 'Miltonic' other than Milton.


    ps. "Miltonia" is the name of a South American flower, but after Viscount 
Milton -- not John.


From the OED


English poet John Milton (1608-74) used in the phr. mute inglorious Milton 
(see quot. 1751) to symbolize the idea of native ability frustrated by lack of 
1751 GRAY Elegy 8 Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest. 1883 Authors & 
Publishers (G. P. Putnam's Sons) 61 We do not believe that our American 
prairies conceal any Charlotte Brontés to whom the opportunity for expression 
fame has been denied, or that a careful search through American villages would 
develop any â??mute, inglorious Miltonsâ?? rusting away their undeveloped 
1922 H. L. MENCKEN Prejudices (1923) 3rd Ser. iii. 89 A genuine artist..would 
have thoughts and feelings of his own, and the impulse to give them objective 
form would be irresistible... There are no mute inglorious Miltons, save in the 
hallucinations of poets. The one sound test of a Milton is that he functions 
as a Milton. 1933 J. BUCHAN Prince of Captivity I. iv. 125 We've got to see 
that our Miltons don't remain mute and inglorious, but above all that our 
Hampdens are not left to rot on a village green. 1948 T. S. ELIOT Notes Def. 
vi. 102 The Equality of Opportunity dogma..derives emotional reinforcement 
from the belief in the mute inglorious Milton. This myth assumes that a great 
deal of first-rate abilitynot merely ability, but geniusis being wasted for 
of education.

USAGE  2. [Perh. a different word.] slang. An oyster. 
1841 THACKERAY Professor ii, in Bentley's Misc. Sept. 285 Mrs. Grampus 
herself operated with the oyster-knife, and served the Milton morsels to the 
customers. 1845 â??BON GAULTIERâ?? Bk. Ballads 35 Fill me once more the foaming 
up! Another board of oysters, ladye mine! To night Lucullus with himself shall 
sup, These mute inglorious Miltons are divine.

1708 J. PHILIPS Cyder I. 1 Thy gift Pomona in Miltonian verse Adventrous I 
presume to sing. 1816 KEATS Epist. C. C. Clarke 57 Miltonian storms, and more, 
Miltonian tenderness. 1842 DICKENS Let. 19 Oct. (1974) III. 352, I have been 
going, every day, to write to you about the Miltonians. 1872 LOWELL Milton 
Wks. 1890 IV. 76 It is merely a Miltonian way of saying that he took regular 
exercise. 1907 Illustr. London News 4 May 672/1 Nearly all Englishmen are 
either Shakesperians or Miltonians... Each represents something in the make-up 
England. 1947 A. J. A. WALDOCK Paradise Lost i. 9 Grierson..observed, 
supervised and corrected; but not yet had England produced a New Miltonian. 
1960 Times 
22 Sept. 15/4 The most dyed-in-the-wool Miltonian.
1708 GAY Wine 15 Inspir'd, sublime, on Pegasean wing By thee upborne, I draw 
Miltonic air. 1818 BYRON Juan Ded. x, If Time, the Avenger, execrates his 
wrongs, And makes the word â??Miltonicâ?? mean â??sublimeâ?? [etc.]. 1886 
Misc. 14 A Shakespearean adept may be a Miltonic believer.
1712 HENLEY Spect. No. 396 2 That Mungrel miscreated (to speak in Miltonic) 
kind of Wit, vulgarly termed the Pun.
1792 COWPER Wks. (1837) XV. 237 Having translated all the Latin and Italian 
Miltonics, I was proceeding merrily with the Commentary on the Paradise Lost. 
1928 O. BARFIELD Poetic Diction x. 177 No one would have dreamed of employing 
the stale Miltonics, which lay at the bottom of so much eighteenth-century â??
poetic dictionâ??, in prose, however imaginative. 1944 F. R. LEAVIS in Scrutiny 
XII. 202 Johnson's disapproval of Gray's Pinderick sublimities goes with his 
disapproval of Miltonics.
1853 DE QUINCEY Autobiogr. Sk. I. i. 2, I here record the entire list of my 
brothers and sisters..and Miltonically I include myself. 1905 Q. Rev. July 8 To 
speak Miltonically, the Muse utters the oracle, and her â??prophetâ?? renders 
in rhyme.
1802 LAMB Lett. (1888) I. 190 Cowper's blank verse detains you every step 
with some heavy Miltonism. 1936 F. R. LEAVIS Revaluation ii. 46 A common, 
pompous Miltonicism. 1938 E. POUND Let. 8 May (1971) 316, I do, however, 
prefer your â??supreme Hippocratesâ?? [line 137]... Miltonism tho' it may be.

 1806 SYMMONS Milton (1810) 250 A party, distinguished by the name of 
Miltonists, attested the power of his pen, and gave consequence to his pleading 
divorce. 1836 SOUTHEY Cowper III. 81 Hayley..had reasons for being what in the 
days of the Commonwealth was called a Miltonist.
 1893 Athenæum 25 Feb. 254/3 This [sc. painting] is a noble example of 
Palmer's ability to Miltonize landscape. 1903 Academy 4 Apr. 336 Mr. Johnstone 
has..gone to Milton for his model, and Miltonizes as best he may. 1936 F. R. 
Revaluation iv. 116 The meditative-Miltonizing poetic modes. 1944  in 
Scrutiny XII. 189 The author of The Vanity of Human Wishes has, as critic, no 
weakness..for the Miltonizing habit of his age. 1953 H. HOUSE Coleridge iii. 65 
Miltonising is not a mere matter of poetical echoes..it is part of a conscious 
political act. 1958 Essays & Stud. v. 69 These larger Miltonizing 
politico-social pieces like Religious Musings.

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