English 45 - Fall, 2017

Introductory Topics in Poetry

    Topic: Milton & Blake

Class Information

Instructor: Menely, Tobias
CRN: 62578
Time: MWF 10:00-10:50
Location: 1150 Hart


    This course is about two poets, each writing in the aftermath of a failed revolution, each asking what poetry is for and what poetry can accomplish. We’ll read John Milton’s _Paradise Lost_ (1667), as well as two poems by William Blake, _The Marriage of Heaven and Hell_ (1790-1793) and _Milton_ (1804-1810). We’ll also study the images that Blake, a painter and engraver, produced for all three poems. Since this course serves as an introduction to poetry, we’ll cover some of the basics: techniques for reading slowly and attentively, poetic syntax and figures of speech, the relation between word and image, the relation between form and content. These three immensely capacious poems will also provide us with an opportunity to discuss what Blake calls the “contraries” that define human experience in the modern world: faith and science, sovereignty and revolution, reason and desire, the individual and the collective, empire and ecology, influence and creativity.


    Two formal essays: 50%
    Final exam: 20%
    Online Discussion Forum: 30%


    The Complete Poems (Penguin ed.), William Blake
    Paradise Lost (Hackett ed.), John Milton