English 218


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2021 Picciotto, Joanna M
W 2-5 214 Haviland


We'll explore John Milton's entire career, a lifelong effort to unite intellectual, political, and aesthetic experimentation. We'll start by reading his great epic poem Paradise Lost. Then we’ll go back to the beginning, working through Milton’s college homework, early poems, and some political writings of his maturity. These are crucial texts for understanding the English Revolution, which saw the public trial and execution of the king and a succession of experiments in non-monarchical government, brought to an end by the Restoration of monarchy in 1660. Paradise Lost appeared seven years later, as Milton’s public response to the experience of political defeat. After reconsidering the poem in light of this context, we'll grapple with his final poetic and political statement: a book consisting of his “brief epic” Paradise Regained and the tragic dramatic poem Samson Agonistes.

Required Text: John Milton, The Complete Poetry and Essential Prose of John Milton, ed. William Kerrigan, John Rumrich, and Stephen Fallon (Modern Library). NOT THE KINDLE VERSION.

Students will write an article-sized research paper or an equivalent (we can discuss).

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