Spring 2016: John Milton’s Paradise Lost

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William Blake, Satan Watching Endearments of Adam and Eve. 1816.

For 350 years, John Milton’s Paradise Lost has awed, angered, and inspired its readers. It’s a poem of enormous ambition and profound beauty, one that novelists, classical composers, punk rock bands, political radicals, and contemporary filmmakers have engaged with in creative and provoking ways.  Written by one of the most brilliant and educated men of the English Renaissance, this epic poem probes the core human experiences — from the sweetness of romantic love to the corruption of the political state — all the while demanding that its readers make active choices.

“Give me liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties,” Milton writes in Aeropagetica. Our course will center on knowing, uttering, and arguing freely about Paradise Lost and all that it enkindles.

This semester’s course emerges from a collaboration with Dr. Patricia Taylor. More than one hundred students in five classes will study Paradise Lost this spring.


Blake, William. Satan Watching the Endearments of Adam and Eve. 1816. Blake Archive. Illustrations to Milton’s Paradise Lost. Huntington Library. Web. 27 Dec. 2015.