Approaches to Teaching Milton’s Paradise Lost
- Editor: Galbraith M. Crump
- Pages: x & 201 pp.
- Published: 1986
- ISBN: 9780873524933 (Cloth)
- ISBN: 9780873524940 (Paperback)
“. . . a useful handbook for teachers of Milton on various levels, since it summarizes critical opinion about course materials (editions, recommended readings, teaching aids, the instructor’s library) and approaches to teaching (from the University of Wisconsin to the Naval Academy).”
“Milton’s influence on later poets and his debt to earlier ones,” writes the editor of this book, “define him as central to the study of English literature.” Of all Milton’s works, Paradise Lost is his supreme and most influential accomplishment, but the scope of the epic, the difficulties in its form, and the strangeness of its contexts challenge student and teacher alike. The essays collected here will help teachers at all levels make Milton’s poem accessible to today’s students.
The volume, like others in the MLA’s Approaches to Teaching World Literature series, is divided into two parts. The first part, “Materials,” reviews editions of Paradise Lost and of other works by Milton and surveys anthologies, reference works, background resources, and critical studies. In the second part, “Approaches,” seventeen teachers, most of whom have taught Paradise Lost regularly for years, offer suggestions for presenting the work in the classroom. The first group of essays provides overviews of the epic and ways of introducing it to students. The next section offers specific teaching strategies, which range from approaching Paradise Lost by first reading Milton’s sonnets to dealing with his treatment of Eve and of relations between the sexes. The final group suggests teaching the backgrounds and contexts of the poem, including the contemporary response to Paradise Lost and the epic’s many allusions to classical literature.