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Milton, His Precursors and Contemporaries

Class at Faculty of Arts |



This is a close-reading seminar, but it also aims to view Milton in the light of his precursors and contemporaries. We shall observe how his texts reflect existing traditions or are reflected in the writings of his fellow poets. We shall analyse Milton?s poetry, starting with his minor poems, moving on to the important shorter poems Lycidas and Samson Agonistes. We shall concentrate on selected passages from Paradise Lost, especially from the less known Books XI and XII. A number of classes will be devoted to reading Samson Agonistes and discussing its highly controversial, at once topical and universal, issues (e.g. Samson?s ?terrorism?, gender and divorce, Aristotelian tragedy).

Note: The seminar is open to all students, whether they have studied Milton?s epic or not. The extracts from Paradise Lost will be selective and mostly less familiar. (Please note that this is a literature seminar, not a course in religious studies!)


Students will be required to read the appropriate extracts before they attend the class.