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Areopagitica and Of Education Unknown Binding – 1951


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Product Details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: Appleton-Century-Crofts (1951)
  • ASIN: B001K2OM7E
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By jackfoss@lpg.bans.net on November 1, 1998
Format: Paperback
It is strange, indeed, that a great work such as Milton's Areopagitica should be issued in a redacted version--that is to say, edited to modernize the poet's vocabulary and usage: in a word, to impose political correctness on his essay. This is the worst sort of historical revisionism. In a sense, A. S. Ash--the editor--has seen fit to censor a work which decries censorship and he stands condemned by the work he has edited.
The book is part of the Little Humanist Classics series, which attempts to introduce "the humanist pronouns HU, HUS, and HUM wherever the reference is to a third person generally, without reference to sex." This edition also substitutes "adulthood" for "manhood" and modernizes certain other archaisms in Milton's language.
I sympathize completely with an effort to make English non-sexist, but I see no need to re-issue the classics (Milton, Tolstoi, Plato, Whitman, etc.) in expurgated, politically correct versions.
As far as the modernization of vocabulary, this seems hardly necessary with Milton, whose English is not as far removed from us as Chaucer's. After all, Milton is a bit more modern than Shakespeare, whose works are intelligible to most literate adults.
For those who prefer to read the Areopagitica as Milton wrote it, I recommend the Everman edition of the Complete English Poems, edited by Gordon Campbell. This volume includes the essays "Of Education" and "Areopagitica."
Hopefully, the language will evolve to a non-sexist state--living languages are very good at changing. But I doubt if the humanist agenda and its invented pronouns will win out over the great, slow, glacial tide of usage that has given us modern English and will, no doubt, produce something better than HU, HUS, and HUM.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Michael Wischmeyer on February 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
Let the buyer beware! I should have recalled this adage and examined my purchase more carefully.
I am now the owner of writings by the new John Milton, a politically correct John Milton, a John Milton that rejects manhood for adulthood and rejects man for person. This new Milton embraces the humanist pronouns hu and hus and hum, non-sexist third person pronouns. He, his and him and she, her and hers are no more.
Milton's quotation of Euripides is likewise changed. Euripides now says' "And hu who can and will, deserves high praise". Euripides stands corrected.
Milton's use of archaic English has also been modernized. Milton has cast aside much of his seventeenth century English. This Bandanna Books version of John Milton is no longer John Milton, but an altered, censored revision.
Ironically, in the essay Areopagitica John Milton is arguing to the Parliament of England for freedom of the press, specifically for the liberty of unlicensed printing. Would John Milton have approved this modern, secular, nonsexist version of his essay?
Milton would have agreed that Bandanna Books had a right to publish, but I suspect that he would have argued that that Bandanna Books had a moral obligation to label the book cover to indicate that Milton's essay had been significantly altered to fit a peculiar nonsexist standard.
Bandanna Books in Santa Barbara, California offers other humanist works including Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, Plato's Apology and Crito, and commentaries by Confucius. Unless you find comfort in hu, hus, and hum, I suggest that the traditional Whitman, Plato, and Confucius might be adequate and that you look elsewhere. Let the buyer beware!
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 22, 1998
Format: Paperback
Prospective buyers of this edition should be aware that it is edited; some of Milton's words have been changed, either to modernize or to "humanize" (that is, eliminate sexist usages by the replacement of he/she, him/her, etc. with bizarre "hu", "hum," etc. This is not a worthy edition of Milton's great text!
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