John Milton, Martin Amis and Quentin Skinner

I’ve just finished listening to an amusingly bonkers discussion of religious toleration on Radio 4’s Start the Week. Martin Amis is now quite, quite mad. He expressed surprise that hardly any of his Manchester students put there hands up when he asked the question ‘Who here feels morally superior to the Taliban?’ (The correct answer is, of course, ‘You do Mr. Amis.’) From my experience, this is not the kind of question you can expect undergraduate students to put their hands up for. For a more positive response try, ‘who hasn’t got a handout?’, or, ‘who would like a chocolate eclair?’

Thankfully, there were some sane people on the prog, like Jim Al-Khalili, (who I once shared an overly-spiced pizza with in York) helpfully pointing out that Islamic culture had gifted to the world other things besides hook-handed fanatics and suicide bombers.

Shoe-horned into this, very much as after-thought, was a discussion of Milton and liberty. It’s the 400th anniversary of Milton’s birth this year (though not till December) and Prof. Skinner is giving a talk at Christ’s College, Cambridge on 30th Jan on ‘Milton as a theorist of liberty’. If the brief comments on this show are anything to go by, Skinner is continuing with his interesting focus on the discourse of slavery during the English Revolution.

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Published in: on January 28, 2008 at 10:22 am  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. The interview with Amis in today’s Independent is delightfully bonkers, too.


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