A course on the major poems of John Milton, with an emphasis on âParadise Lostâ and the theological and philosophical issues that it engages (then and now).
ENGL 328: John Milton-Radical
Instructor: Ed Snow
This course should really be called “The Other Milton,” since we will be interested in all those errant tendencies in the poet’s work—iconoclastic, feminist, evolutionary, secular-humanist, open-ended, polysemic, deconstructive—that complicate the straight-down-the-middle sensibility (authoritarian, patriarchal) that “Milton” usually signifies. We will concentrate entirely on Paradise Lost, since it takes a semester to even begin to read one’s way into this amazing work. We will deal with historical, political and theological contexts, but our focus will be on close/slow reading; thus the course will be as much about how poetry in general works as about Milton’s particular strategies. We will be especially concerned with how issues of gender play out at the level of the poem’s “minute particulars” (Blake’s phrase). Written work for the course will consist of short, informal class-to-class assignments, and two longer essays. There will be no midterm or final.
Milton, Paradise Lost, ed. Fowler (Longmans) handed-out in class
Hill, The World Turned Upside Down, (Penguin)
Misc. Critical Readings (xerox)