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Milton's Paradise Lost

Weekend All-Day Lecture/Seminar

Saturday, June 8, 2024 - 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET
Code: 1J0368
This online program is presented on Zoom.
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John Milton

John Milton’s Paradise Lost from 1667 is generally considered to be the greatest epic poem in the English language. Joseph Luzzi, a professor of literature at Bard College, leads participants through a close examination of the literary elements and cultural contexts that make Milton’s writing essential reading. He explores such issues as Milton’s relation to ancient literature, his rewriting of religious doctrine, and his role in major political and social struggles. Attention is also given to Milton’s dramatic personal circumstances, including his blindness and his role as one of the major pamphleteers of his age.

10–11 a.m.  John Milton: An Inimitable Life and Its Literary Innovations

Luzzi considers Milton’s profound literary contributions as he explores the main biographical elements of his life, including the onset of his blindness, his dedication to foreign languages and cultures (especially those of Italy), and his place in the political upheavals of his era.

11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m.  War in Heaven and Free Will

Key issues and themes of Books 1–4 are discussed, especially the depiction of Satan, formerly God’s favorite angel, as well as Adam and Eve. The topic of free will and its role in the poem is also covered.

12:15–12:45 p.m.  Break

12:45–1:45 p.m.  Questions of Creation and Cosmic Battles

In covering Books 5–8, Luzzi focuses on Milton’s rewriting of biblical sources in his depiction of God’s creation of the world. He also examines how Milton stages the struggles between the fallen angels and their heavenly counterparts.

2–3 p.m.  Human Disobedience and the Fate of Humankind

This look at the last four books centers on Adam and Eve’s transgression of God’s will and its effects on the fate of humankind. Luzzi also explores Milton’s influence on later writers and cultures.

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