Thursday, September 30, 2004

I realize that the Fish quote below needs some context. So, I'll type out the first page of the section (the first of the book) for those interested.

"Milton works from the inside out. . . . In saying this I mean several things.

1. The priority of the inside over the outside is thematized obsessively in Milton's prose and poetry. Indeed, "priority" is at once too weak and misleading, since often outsides will either be declared nonexistent and illusory or found to be indistinguishable from the insides of which they are the local manifestation.

2. In Milton's prose and poetry, the direction of knowledge is inside out. In the world as he conceives it to be, truth and certainty are acheived not by moving from evidence gathered in discrete bits to general conclusions, but by putting in place general conclusions in the light of which evidence will then appear. Rather than confirming or disconfirming belief, the external landscape, in all of its detail, will be a function of belief."

And he goes on to very interesting points, which are not as salient just now. I hope that makes a little more clear where Fish was coming from, in the paragraph I previously posted.

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