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Paradise Lost: The Poem and Its Critics

Professor John Leonard
Winter Half Course.

This course will offer a close reading of Milton’s Paradise Lost, paying close attention to its reception history from 1667 until the present day. The aim is to give students who have already studied the poem in its entirety at the undergraduate level a thorough knowledge of the text and the criticism. The course is not an introduction to the poem or a remedial course for students who have not yet read it. Familiarity with the primary text will be assumed from the first class. Emphasis will be placed upon critical responses to the poem's style, and the question of Milton’s alleged "magniloquence." Critics studied will include Addison, Johnson, eighteenth-century editors (such as Richard Bentley, the Jonathan Richardsons, and Thomas Newton), Lord Monboddo, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Hunt, Hazlitt, Landor, Bagehot, Symonds, as well the twentieth-century "Milton Controversy" initiated by (but not limited to) Eliot and Leavis.  Attention will also be paid to interpretative questions pertaining to Satan, God, Eve, the Fall, innocence, and Milton's epic universe.

View the sllabus here: English 9088B.

Department of English - The University of Western Ontario
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