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Milton - Video

By John Rogers

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(ENGL 220) This course is a study of Milton's poetry, with attention paid to his literary sources, his contemporaries, his controversial prose, and his decisive influence on the course of English poetry. Throughout the course, Professor Rogers explores the advantages and limitations of a diverse range of interpretive techniques and theoretical concerns in Milton scholarship and criticism. Lectures include close readings of lyric and epic poetry, prose, and letters; biographical inquiries; examinations of historical and political contexts; and engagement with critical debates. This course was recorded in Fall 2007.

Customer Reviews


Very well done. Thank you.

A very enjoyable course

The professor obviously enjoys Milton and communicates that joy as well. His enthusiasm and ease of lecturing make him another of the very nice Yale lecturers (and, no, I didn't go there). He criticizes when he feels Milton deserves it but overall the approach is very evenhanded and the emphasis is on the beauty of Milton's poetry, along with discussions of the prose works, especially Milton's Areopagitica and his justification of regicide.

And, rightly, about half the course is on "Paradise Lost". My small caveat (I would give it 4 1/2 if I could) is based on what I feel are occasional leaps of interpretation -- which the professor DOES often indicate as such -- that seem an academic's need to find "something" new. Other writers are also referenced which support similar leaps.

Anyway, we're all adults here and we can each decide to agree or not, to investigate further or to read the original again more carefully. And I suppose if it gets one to address the works with more attention to those other possibilities (however much I might tend to disagree with some of those possibilities) and widen our scope of accessibility to the works, then it can only help, even if in the end our original interpretations are generally reinforced. They are then stronger for having experienced the friction of alternate views. In any case, I found the course rewarding, sending me back in particular to "Paradise Lost" with a renewed enthusiasm and curiosity.

As with several other Yale courses, and those of many other universities as well, this is such a great opportunity for those of us unable for various reasons to have attended such schools or to have taken such classes, to get a taste -- many tastes! -- later in life of what we missed, and to do so basically for free.