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Unattempted Yet in Prose or Rhyme: Paradise Lost in Context

Vak 2013-2014

Admission requirements

A relevant BA degree. If in doubt, please contact the tutor.

Description

John Milton was not only the most important poet of the late seventeenth century but also an astonishingly prolific public intellectual: he wrote theological treatises and was a tireless pamphleteer, deeply involved in the political and religious struggles of his time, and revolutionary in several senses of that word. In this course we will study Milton’s great epic poem Paradise Lost in relation to his prose work on such diverse issues as freedom of the press (in the Areopagitica), the right to divorce (The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce), the nature of political (especially royal) authority (Tenure of Kings and Magistrates), and Christian theology (Of Reformation). For each week we will read one book from Paradise Lost, coupled with (sections from) a prose work and an article from the Companion to Milton. We will closely analyse the language and form of the poem, while also looking at how Milton used the medium of epic poetry to explore the various political and religious questions also addressed in his prose tracts. We will also familiarize ourselves with some of the recent scholarly work on Milton.

Course objectives

This course will extend and deepen the power of students’ literary critical analysis through in-depth consideration of literary texts and contextual material. Students will gain a broader understanding of the work of John Milton, and of seventeenth-century literature more generally, and of current critical debates about Milton and his contemporaries. Students will share analytical and critical views on the texts ascribed in class discussions and short presentations, and will focus research skills in the writing of two papers.

Timetable

The timetable will be available by July 1st on the website.

Mode of instruction

One two-hour seminar per week

Assessment method

Short weekly writing assignments (200-400 words each)
Classroom presentation
1 mid-term paper (2500 words)
1 final paper (4500 words)

Blackboard

This course is supported by Blackboard.

Reading list

John Milton, The Riverside Milton, ed. Roy Flannagan (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998). Students are required to purchase The Riverside Milton; no other editions are allowed. The introductions to the various works in the Riverside Milton are part of the weekly reading material.

Thomas N. Corns (ed.), A Companion to Milton (Oxford: Blackwell, 2001).
Further material to be downloaded via Blackboard.

Registration

Students should register through uSis. If you have any questions, please contact the departmental office, tel. 071 5272251 or mail.

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply

Contact information

MA Literary Studies departmental office, Van Wijkplaats 3, room 002A. Tel. 071 527 2251 or mail.
Coordinator of Studies Master: Ms T.D. Obbens, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 103B.

Remarks

Students are required to purchase The Riverside Milton; no other editions are allowed. The introductions to the various works in the Riverside Milton are part of the weekly reading material.