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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : English Literature

Undergraduate Course: Paradise Lost (ENLI10398)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course offers you the opportunity to read (slowly) one of the world¿s great books. It will introduce you to the most important formal aspects of Milton¿s Paradise Lost, its key ethical and political concerns, and the context in which it was written. It begins by exploring the role Milton creates for the reader by examining its poetic and rhetorical techniques as well as its response to the conventions of classical epic and to scriptural sources.
Course description The poem's vision of God and of human nature -- including, most controversially, the differences between men and women ''will be considered along with its core philosophical preoccupations with evil, free will, and self-determination. But Milton was also a political revolutionary, an outspoken defender of the regicide that concluded the civil war and of the republican government that followed in the 1650s. We'll consider how this context, along with the collapse of Milton's hopes at the Restoration, affects Paradise Lost's account of obedience and rebellion, justice and injustice, and liberty. At the end of the course, you should have become a confident reader of the whole poem and understand some of the most significant critical debates it has elicited.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Literary Studies 1A (ENLI08020) AND Literary Studies 1B (ENLI08021) OR English Literature 1 (ENLI08001) OR Scottish Literature 1 (ENLI08016) AND Literary Studies 2A: English Literature in the World, 1380-1788 (ENLI08024) AND Literary Studies 2B: English Literature in the World, post-1789 (ENLI08025) OR Scottish Literature 2A (ENLI08022) AND Scottish Literature 2B (ENLI08023) OR English Literature 2 (ENLI08003) OR Scottish Literature 2 (ENLI08004)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs Essential course text £27.54
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) plus 1 hour Autonomous Learning Group per week, at time to be arranged.
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) one mid-semester Coursework Essay of c. 2,000 words (30%);

one Final Essay of c. 3,000 words (70%)
Feedback Detailed written feedback will be provided on each element of assessment, and further oral follow-up feedback from the course organiser will be available for anyone who would like it.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate a detailed knowledge of 'Paradise Lost'.
  2. undertake independent critical analysis of 'Paradise Lost'.
  3. show critical awareness of the poem's cultural context.
  4. show understanding of the major critical debates produced by the poem.
Reading List
Primary text

Milton, Paradise Lost, ed. Gordon Teskey, 2nd Norton Critical Edition (2020).

Secondary Reading
Achinstein, Sharon. Milton and the Revolutionary Reader (Princeton, 1994).
Belsey, Catherine. John Milton: language, gender, power. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1988)
Corns, Thomas N. A New Companion to Milton (Oxford, 2016).
Danielson Dennis (ed.). The Cambridge Companion to Milton, 2nd edn. (Cambridge, 1999).
Dobranski, Stephen. Reading John Milton: How to Persist in Troubled Times (Stanford 2022).
Fish, Stanley. Surprised by Sin: The Reader in 'Paradise Lost' (1967; 2nd edn. Cambridge, Mass., 1997).
Forsyth, Neil. The Satanic Epic (Princeton, 2003).
Herman, Peter C. Destabilizing Milton: 'Paradise Lost' and the Poetics of Incertitude (New York and Basingstoke, 2005).
Herman, Peter C. and Elizabeth Sauer (eds). The New Milton Criticism (Cambridge, 2012).
McDowell, Nicholas and Nigel Smith (eds). Oxford Handbook of Milton (Oxford, 2011).
Poole, William. Milton and the making of Paradise Lost (Harvard, 2017).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills As an outcome of having studied this course, students will have developed their personal and professional skills commensurate with the range of SCQF Level 10 characteristics:
Knowledge and understanding: through their reading and discussion of the course material, students will have had the opportunity to demonstrate critical literary analysis in relation both to the primary text and in relation to the critical debates it has produced
Applied Knowledge, Skills and Understanding: in their work for class discussion, presentations and formal assessment tasks, students will have applied their reading of the primary text and secondary sources so as to develop critical arguments about the course material;
Generic Cognitive Skills: in completing their assessed coursework and class presentations, students will have practiced identifying, defining, conceptualising and analysing complex problems and issues that are relevant both to this specific work but also more broadly to the critical study of literature;
Communication: through class discussion and presentation and through the work undertaken in their Autonomous Learning Groups, students will have demonstrated the ability to communicate ideas and information to an informed audience of their peers;
Autonomy and Working with Others: students will also have shown the capacity to work independently and in small groups on designated tasks. They will have demonstrated the ability to support each other by sharing and developing ideas with their peers, and by taking responsibility for the reporting, analysis and defence of these ideas to a larger group.
Additional Class Delivery Information one 2-hour seminar per week for 10 weeks;
plus one-hour Autonomous Learning Group per week (at time to be arranged)
KeywordsMilton,Paradise Lost
Course organiserDr Dermot Cavanagh
Tel: (0131 6)50 3618
Course secretaryMrs Lina Gordyshevskaya
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