English 122 - Spring, 2017

Milton

Class Information

Instructor: Ferguson, Margaret
Time: TR 9:00-10:20
Location: 158 Olson

Description

    In this course, we will study Milton's most famous poem, _Paradise Lost_, along with samples of his early poetry, including his collaborative venture into drama, the _Maske Performed at Ludlow Castle_. Among the themes that we'll discuss are Milton's views on marriage, divorce, freedom from press censorship, and the monarchical form of government, which Milton like other participants in the English Revolution of the mid-seventeenth century passionately believed in radically reforming. He supported the execution of King Charles I on the grounds that Charles was a tyrant. We will also explore Milton's unconventional representations of gender, sexuality and love (among angelic as well as human figures); his practices of interpreting the Bible; his attitudes toward his classical and Renaissance precursors (especially Shakespeare), and his representation of the Garden of Eden as a vegetarian utopia that can also look, from other perspectives, like a prison or a territory ripe for colonial conquest (by Satan). Some required readings will be on our SmartSite or on the online "Dartmouth Milton Reading Room" site. If you don't own a King James Version of the bible, the most influential translation in English, you might consider buying the optional text below, though the KJV Bible is also available online and as a phone app!

Grading

    Grading: Participation in weekly discussion sections and in 4 online forums (15%); quizzes and short writing exercises done in class and at home (15%); 2 papers (each 25%); a final examination (20%).

Texts

    The Holy Bible Containing the Old and New Testaments (King James Version), (optional)
    Milton's Rhetoric, a pdf on course SmartSite, under "Resources".
    Paradise Lost, ed. David Kastan, 3rd ed., John Milton