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Reading Milton: Subtleties and Anxieties in Paradise Lost

Class at Faculty of Arts |


Reading Milton: Subtleties and Anxieties in Paradise Lost

Šárka Brotánková Tobrmanová, MA (Prague), D.Phil. (Oxford)

Place: The course will be held at the Faculty Institute of Translation Studies in Hybernská Street.


This is a close-reading course - a joint class for students of Anglophone Literatures and Cultures and Translation Studies, and for Erasmus students. It aims to illuminate John Milton’s Paradise Lost and show how innovative Milton is in his use of language and poetic form, as well as in his treatment of the simple Genesis story. We shall analyse selected passages and discuss the textual subtleties and anxieties that the text raises, particularly as they relate to Satan, the presentation of God, and Adam and Eve’s union and sexuality.

The course is primarily intended for MA students and 3rd-year BA students, but it is open to anyone who wishes to discover how intricate Milton’s poem is and learn about the greatest epic poet in the English language – a controversial figure whose example and ideas have not ceased to inspire poets, writers and thinkers more than three hundred years after his death.

Primary literature:

FOWLER, ALASTAIR, ed., John Milton: Paradise Lost. 2nd ed. Harlow, Essex: Addison Wesley Longman Limited, 1998.

HUGHES, MERRITT Y., ed., John Milton: Complete Poems and Major Prose. New York:Odyssey Press, 1957.

LEONARD, JOHN, ed., John Milton: Paradise Lost. London: Penguin Books Ltd, 2000.

Thomas H. Luxon, The John Milton Reading Room (

Handouts including selected prose and criticism will be provided.

Secondary sources:

DANIELSON, DENNIS, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Milton. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

MCDOWELL, NICHOLAS and NIGEL SMITH (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Milton. Oxford University Press:

Oxford, 2009.

LEONARD, JOHN. The Value of Milton. Cambridge, 2016.

KEAN, MARGARET (ed.), John Milton’s Paradise Lost: A Sourcebook. London and New York: Routledge, 2005.

NOAM REISNER. John Milton’s Paradise Lost: A Reading Guide. Reading Guides to Long Poems. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2011.

SCHWARTZ, Louis (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Paradise Lost. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 2014.


Students will be required to read about 500-700 lines per week before they attend the class and participate actively in seminar discussions.

Regular attendance (3 absences are tolerated), active participation (50%) and required readings (50%).

BA SSE elective Module A & BA DSS optional, 3 credits.

MA English Literature, elective seminar, 5 credits - includes a 3,000-word essay.