ENGL 315 Fall 2012 Milton

The premise of this course is that Milton is the greatest of the English poets and Paradise Lost the greatest of English poems. The purpose of the course is to persuade you that the premise is correct, by immersing students in his densely organized language, his imagined worlds of an earthly paradise, heaven, hell, and the dark world after the fall, and the philosophical and theological problems that challenge the best readers. To prepare for our 6 weeks on Paradise Lost, we will read some of Milton's early poems and prose, including Areopagitica, his ringing defense of freedom of expression, some of his political writings (to situate him in the strenuous politics of church and state during the English Civil War), and his tract defending divorce (which reflects not only on his own life, but also on the "marriage" of Adam and Eve). And we will conclude the course with three weeks on his other two great long poems, the magnificent and austere Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes, which continue Milton's radical redefinition of the classical ideas of heroism and constitute his parting words on the apparent failure of the Puritan Revolution.
Class Format: discussion/seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: several 1-page assignments, a shorter paper and a longer paper; regular attendance and class participation
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Prerequisites: a 100-level English course, or a score of 5 on the Advanced Placement examination in English Literature or a 6 or 7 on the International Baccalaureate
Enrollment Preference: English majors
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Divisional Attributes: Division I
Other Attributes: ENGL Literary Histories A
Enrollment Limit: 25
Expected Enrollment: 15
Class Number: 1605
ENGL315-01(F) SEM Milton Division 1: Languages and the Arts Alan W. De Gooyer
MWF 11:00 AM-12:15 PM Griffin 1 1605
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