Walker Percy's Lancelot and the Critic's Original Sin

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Stephen R. Yarbrough, Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: Stanley Fish in Surprised by Sin (1987) claimed that Milton's method in Paradise Lost "is to re-create in the mind of the reader (which is, finally, the poem's scene) the drama of the Fall, to make him fall again exactly as Adam did and with Adam's troubled clarity."1 Three years later in the preface to the paperback edition, Fish said he no longer believes it is necessary to "construct a special argument" for specifying "the peculiarly circular nature of the reader's relationship" to Paradise Lost, since such a relation holds between the reader and any text (ix). In 1975 James M. Cox made a similar claim about the relationship between the reader and the text of The Scarlet Letter. On the one hand, Hawthorne's book is "about the consequences of an original sin of adultery" to a Puritan community: each time the community "fixes the blame" upon Hester and her child, its acts of judgment increase the society's own guilt. On the other hand, the book "makes the reader re-enact the scapegoating process he condemns in the Puritan community."2

Additional Information

Texas Studies in Literature and Language
Language: English
Date: 1988
Original Sin, Paradise Lost, Literature

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