Milton was one of the greatest English poets and surely the strangest. This coming year I will consider his whole poetic career, term by term: first term, poems before Paradise Lost, second term Paradise Lost, third term Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes. This is an introduction only, of course, and can do no more than indicate ways to further your own interests as they develop; Milton's own ideological and political and dogmatic interests, as they appear in his prose works, would require a different course and another year and probably another teacher. So challenging are the problems raised by the poetry that I will set short passages for detailed consideration in class each week, and a larger chunk of poetry by the week for you to read and contemplate in your own time. Milton's verse needs time to sink in - as I have spent a few decades finding out. Texts: I prefer the Oxford edition of H. C. Beeching, which retains most of Milton's spelling and punctuation; it's old but quite easy to find, and the font and orthography are user-friendly (or I find them so).
Note: The Autumn and Spring terms will be held via video-conference (Zoom).