Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Milton and the Epic Voice

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION This unit presents a provocative study which challenges long-standing assumptions underlying concepts of historical periods and comprehension of literary style. Spenser's 'The Fairie Queene' and 'The Shepheards Calendar' and Milton's 'Paradise Lost' and 'Paradise Regained' will be discussed. Other works by both Spenser and Milton will be referred to during the course of the study-unit but will not be for detailed study.

Study-unit Aims:

(1) To help students see the relation between classical and modern epic;
(2) To help students see how Spenser and Milton reshape traditional forms and redefine established convention;
(3) To enable students see how such a study-unit can cross the boundaries of literary and intellectual history while making vital contributions to both;
(4) To enable students to comprehend how the late sixteenth century and early seventeenth century introduce a new way of thinking.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

(1) Appreciate the fine distinction between 'point of view' and 'comment';
(2) Attend to the way a reshaping and redefinition of a past convention not only serves to create new forms but also helps the student studying it to understand the past from a broader and more critically resourceful contemporary point of view;
(3) Relate critically to notions of 'simile', 'catalogue', 'sacred metaphor', 'allegory' and 'parody';
(4) Relate to the difficult concept of 'tone' and how this helps the student to comprehend 'vision as structure'.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

(1) Discern the distinctions between 'simile', 'metaphor', 'comment', 'point of view'. Students will also be able to critique the emphasis on tone and structure and to read texts within a robust critical framework.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

(1) Demaray, John G., Cosmic and Epic Representation (Pennsylvania: Duquesne University Press, 2009)
(2) Esterhammer, A., Creating States: Studies in the Performative Language of John Milton and William Blake (London: University of Toronto Press, 2006)
(3) Ferry, A., Milton's Epic Voice (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2008)
(4) Shoaf, R.A., Milton: Poet of Duality (Florida: Florida University Press, 2011)
(5) Snyder, S., Pastoral Process: Spenser, Marvell, Milton (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2012)
(6) Steadman, J. M., Moral Fiction in Milton and Spenser (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2010)
(7) Waller, G., Edmund Spenser: A Literary Life (London: Macmillan Press, 2004)
(8) Hadfield A., (ed.,) Edmund Spenser (London: Longman, 2013)


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (1 Hour) SEM2 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Maria Frendo

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