Prof. Mary Fuller
MIT Course Number
As Taught In
In 1667, John Milton published what he intended both as the crowning achievement of a poetic career and a justification of God's ways to man: an epic poem which retold and reimagined the Biblical story of creation, temptation, and original sin. Even in a hostile political climate, Paradise Lost was almost immediately recognized as a classic, and one fate of a classic is to be rewritten, both by admirers and by antagonists. In this seminar, we will read Paradise Lost alongside works of 20th century fantasy and science fiction which rethink both Milton's text and its source.
Students should come to the seminar having read Paradise Lost straight through at least once; this can be accomplished by taking the IAP subject, Reading Paradise Lost (21L.995), or independently. Twentieth century authors will include C. S. Lewis (Perelandra, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) and Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials), as well as assorted criticism. Each week, one class meeting will focus on Milton, and the other on one of the modern novels.
Other OCW Versions
OCW has published multiple versions of this subject.
- 21L.705 Major Authors: Old English and Beowulf (Spring 2014)
- 21L.705 Major Authors: America's Literary Scientists (Fall 2010)
- 21L.705 Major Authors: Rewriting Genesis: "Paradise Lost" and Twentieth-Century Fantasy (Spring 2009)
- 21L.705 Major Authors: After the Masterpiece: Novels by Melville, Twain, Faulkner, and Morrison (Fall 2006)
- 21L.705 Masterworks in American Short Fiction (Fall 2005)
- 21L.705 Major Authors: Melville and Morrison (Fall 2003)
- 21L.705 Major Authors: Oscar Wilde and the '90's (Spring 2003)