English 131P. Milton’s Paradise Lost

Instructor: Gordon Teskey
Terms: Spring Term

Mondays & Wednesdays, 4:30-5:45 pm | Location: TBA

This course focuses on Milton’s most famous work, Paradise Lost, the greatest long poem in English and the only successful classical epic in the modern world. Milton went totally blind in his forties and composed Paradise Lost by reciting verses to anyone available to take them down, comparing his lot to that of blind prophets and poets of legend. He had prepared all his life to write an epic poem, although he thought it would be on a British theme, such as King Arthur, not on a biblical one, the fall of humanity and the origin of history. We will read through the poem entirely and in sequence, while considering such matters as Milton’s innovative verse, his concept of the origin of history, and his creation for readers of the experience of the sublime. We will consider how he constructs scenes and how he builds characters, especially his most famous one, Satan.

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