Approaches to Teaching Milton’s Paradise Lost

Second Edition

  • Editor: Peter C. Herman
  • Pages: xii & 232 pp.
  • Published: 2012
  • ISBN: 9781603291163 (Cloth)
  • ISBN: 9781603291170 (Paperback)

“This is an exemplary anthology of essays, all of them anchored in pedagogical concerns.”

—Joseph Wittreich, Graduate Center, City University of New York

This second edition of Approaches to Teaching Milton’s Paradise Lost addresses Milton in the light of the digital age, new critical approaches to his poem, and his continued presence in contemporary culture. It aims to help instructors enliven the teaching of Paradise Lost and address the challenges presented to students by the poem—the early modern syntax and vocabulary, the political and theological contexts, and the abounding classical references.

The first part of the volume, “Materials,” evaluates the many available editions of the poem, points to relevant reference works, recommends additional reading, and outlines useful audiovisual and online aids for teaching Milton’s epic poem. The essays in the second part, “Approaches,” are grouped by several themes: literary and historical contexts, characters, poetics, critical approaches, classrooms, and performance. The essays cover epic conventions and literary and biblical allusions, new approaches such as ecocriticism and masculinity studies, and reading Milton on the Web, among other topics.

Boyd Berry 
Michael Bryson 
Angelica Duran 
Thomas Fulton 
Wendy Furman-Adams 
Achsah Guibbory 
Randall Ingram
Sean Keilen 
William Kolbrener 
John Leonard 
David Loewenstein 
Thomas H. Luxon
Catherine Gimelli Martin 
Feisal G. Mohamed 
Richard Rambuss 
Hugh Richmond 
Elizabeth Sauer
Regina Schwartz 
Gregory M. Colón Semenza
John T. Shawcross 
Lauren Shohet 
Abraham Stoll 
Jeffrey Theis
Julia M. Walker 
Anthony Welch 
Jessica Wolfe

Preface (xi)

PART ONE: MATERIALS

Peter C. Herman

Editions and Texts (3)

Reference Works and Biographies (8)

Audiovisual and Online Aids (9)

Required and Recommended Reading for Students (12)

The Instructor’s Library (13)

PART TWO: APPROACHES

Introduction (19)

Peter C. Herman

Literary and Historical Contexts

Teaching Paradise Lost and the Bible (28)

Regina Schwartz

Paradise Lost and the Jews (35)

Achsah Guibbory

Teaching Paradise Lost and the Epic Tradition (41)

Jessica Wolfe

Clues to the Classical Tradition (52)

Abraham Stoll

Paradise Lost and Milton’s Revolutionary Prose and Poetry (58)

Thomas Fulton

Radical Politics in Paradise Lost? (68)

David Loewenstein

Characters

The Problem of God (76)

Michael Bryson

The Problem of Satan; or, How to Teach Satan on His Own Terms (84)

Gregory M. Colón Semenza

Teaching Eve: The Grammar of Eden (89)

Julia M. Walker

Milton’s Adam (95)

Richard Rambuss

Paradise Lost and Milton’s Biography (101)

John T. Shawcross

Poetics

Narrators (105)

Elizabeth Sauer

Approaches to Teaching Paradise Lost Allegorically (112)

Catherine Gimelli Martin

Fit Quantity of Syllables (118)

John Leonard

Critical Approaches

The Analogical Approach to Paradise Lost and Milton’s Prose: Uses and Abuses (125)

Feisal G. Mohamed

Editing Milton with Richard Bentley (131)

Anthony Welch

Visualizing Paradise Lost: Artists Teaching Milton (136)

Wendy Furman-Adams

Imitating Milton in the Classroom (147)

Sean Keilen

Teaching Paradise Lost through Adaptation; or, Books Promiscuously Read (151)

Lauren Shohet

Teaching Paradise Lost through the New Milton Criticism (161)

Peter C. Herman

Dieting in Paradise: Angelic Eating, Metaphysics, and Poetry in Paradise Lost (167)

William Kolbrener

Ecocritical Milton (174)

Jeffrey Theis

Classrooms

Paradise Lost in the British Literature Survey Course (180)

Boyd Berry

Teaching Paradise Lost in a Western Civilization Course (184)

Randall Ingram

The John Milton Reading Room: Teaching Paradise Lost with an Online Edition (189)

Thomas H. Luxon

Performance and Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost as an Oral Epic (192)

Hugh Richmond

Premeditated Verse: Marathon Readings of Milton’s Epic (197)

Angelica Duran

Notes on Contributors (203)

Survey Respondents (207)

Works Cited (209)

Index (229)