A relevant BA degree. If in doubt, please contact the tutor.
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.
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.
The timetable will be available by July 1st on the website.
Mode of instruction
One two-hour seminar per week
Weekly reading 12 hours, total 144 hours
Seminars 1,5 hours, total 18 hours
Weekly assignments 4 hours, total 48 hours
Mid-term essay total 30 hours
Final essay total 40 hours
Total workload 280 hours
(10 ECTS = 280 hours)
Assessment and grading method (in percentages):
Short weekly writing assignments (200-400 words each) (30%)
1 mid-term paper (2500 words) (30%)
1 final paper (4500 words) (40%)
In the case of a fail, you are entitled to rewrite your mid-term and/or your final paper.
This course is supported by Blackboard.
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.
Students should register through uSis. If you have any questions, please contact the departmental office, tel. 071 5272251 or mail.
When registering students of the MA Literary studies take priority. The deadline for registration is August 15. All other students should contact the coordinator of studies: Ms S.J. de Kok, MA.
Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply
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.