21L.995 | January IAP 2008 | Undergraduate

Special Topics in Literature: Milton's "Paradise Lost"


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 2 hours / session

Course Description

In this 3-unit class, we will read Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost. The goal of the class is for students to come away feeling comfortable with its language and argument; meeting in a small group will also allow us to talk about the key questions and issues raised by the poem.

This reading course is open to all, but it is particularly designed to complement 21L.705 major authors: John Milton, a longer seminar on Milton and twentieth-century fantasy offered in Spring 2008 which assumes that participants will have read the poem at least once.

I’ve waived the limit of 15 participants, but the class is now capped at 23.

Course Requirements

  1. Come to class having read the text carefully, equipped with questions and comments.
  2. Keep a journal on the reading, due at 1 pm on days of class meetings (details below); your journals should come to about 2400 words total.
  3. Participate actively in the discussion; you as a class will be largely responsible for the topics, questions, and passages considered.


The final grade is based on a total of 24 points. The breakdown of points is as follows:

Attendance 6
Journals (three of the four assigned, totaling ~ 2400 words) 9
Participation 3
Excellent journals and participation up to 6 or more

Please see assignments for more information on the journals.


1 Introduction to reading Milton; book I  
2 Books II-III Journal due for all
3 Book IV Journal due for group A
4 Books V-VI Journal due for group B
5 Book VII-VIII Journal due for group A
6 Book IX Journal due for group B
7 Books X-XI Journal due for group A
8 Book XII and conclusions Journal due for group B

Course Info

As Taught In
January IAP 2008
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes
Written Assignments