In this course, we will study the poetry of John Milton, focusing not only on the texts themselves, but also on the various contexts that are relevant to Milton’s oeuvre, from the tumultuous political and religious period in which Milton lived to the literary network with which his texts interact.

We will also take a close look at the man behind Paradise Lost, a man that brazenly announced, relatively early in his poetic career, that he would pen a great epic in the classical tradition. Who was John Milton, and how did he manage to accomplish this goal? Though Milton has gone in and out of literary favor since his death in 1674—Romantic poets greatly valued his formal techniques as well as his figuration of Hell, while Modernists like T.S. Eliot scowled at his bookish, Puritan austerity—there is no question that Milton is a force to be reckoned with, as his works undoubtedly shaped the face and the future of English poetry. By the end of this course, you will possess a comprehensive understanding of Milton, his times, and his works.


 

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