ENGLISH 131P

This course focuses on Milton’s most famous work, Paradise Lost, the greatest long poem in English and the only successful classical epic in the modern world. Milton went totally blind in his forties and composed Paradise Lost by reciting verses to anyone available to take them down, like the blind prophets and poets of legend. Yet the moral and political questions he raised—what is the human? what is gender? what is the political? what is religion? what is dissent? what is legitmacy? what is revolt?—are surprisingly enduring and modern. His own solutions to these questions may not be ours, but his abilility to provoke thought on them speaks to our time. We will consider how Milton generates the sublime and how he builds great scenes and characters, especially his most famous one, Satan.