This course follows John Milton's carefully shaped career, starting with early poems, such as Lycidas, before considering prose, such as Areopagitica, and the late masterpieces, Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes. Milton's texts ask some of the most important questions of the Western tradition: what is the relation between an artist and predecessors? how much should governments constrain individuals' choices? are there "natural" elements of gender and sexuality? if God is both all-good and all-powerful (a huge "if"), why is there so much suffering? As befits these big questions, ENG 355 emphasizes class discussion and individual discovery through formal and informal writing. In the Miltonic tradition, this course also emphasizes choice: students may choose to take a comprehensive final examination or participate in an all-day reading of Paradise Lost, a rare opportunity for students to learn about themselves and about one of the most influential poems in literary history, all in one unforgettable day.
(Not offered Fall 2015.)