Oct 01, 2020  
2015-2016 Academic Catalog 
2015-2016 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

ENG 395-01 - Advanced Special Topic: Milton, Blake, and Frankenstein: Explorations in Literary and Digital Methods

4 credits (Spring)
Team-taught by Professors Lee and Simpson, this course will involve the study of John Milton and two Romantic-era writers who adapted Milton’s work to their own ends: William Blake and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. We will first read a selection of Milton’s prose and poetry. Milton reinvented the epic poem in Paradise Lost and Samson Agonistes, and during the English Civil War, he also wrote fiercely political pamphlets in prose that critiqued the constraints of formal poetic versification as a type of political oppression binding the English language in shackles. The latter part of the course will focus first on the poetry and art of Blake, who found inspiration for the radicalism of his own art in his contrarian reading of Milton, and then on Mary Shelley, who used Milton’s interpretation of the Biblical creation as the foundation of her modern myth of technology and invention, Frankenstein. Reading Milton and then tracing his afterlife in the eighteenth century will allow us to explore his role in early theories of aesthetics and the sublime, and also if he was indeed, as Blake suggests, “a true Poet and of the Devil’s party without knowing it.” Throughout the course, we will use close reading in conjunction with computational methods of reading and responding to literary works. We will think
about why different, or analogous, arguments emerge from the different methods.

Prerequisite: ENG 223 ENG 224 ENG 225 ENG 226 , or ENG 273 
Instructor: Lee, Simpson