Special Topics in Literature: Milton's "Paradise Lost" >> Content Detail



Course Description

In this 3-unit class, we will read Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost. The goal of the class is for students to come away feeling comfortable with its language and argument; meeting in a small group will also allow us to talk about the key questions and issues raised by the poem.

This reading course is open to all, but it is particularly designed to complement 21L.705 major authors: John Milton, a longer seminar on Milton and twentieth-century fantasy offered in Spring 2008 which assumes that participants will have read the poem at least once.

I've waived the limit of 15 participants, but the class is now capped at 23.

Course Requirements

  1. Come to class having read the text carefully, equipped with questions and comments.

  2. Keep a journal on the reading, due at 1 pm on days of class meetings (details below); your journals should come to about 2400 words total.

  3. Participate actively in the discussion; you as a class will be largely responsible for the topics, questions, and passages considered.


The final grade is based on a total of 24 points. The breakdown of points is as follows:

Journals (three of the four assigned, totaling ~ 2400 words)9
Excellent journals and participationup to 6 or more

Please see assignments for more information on the journals.

Recommended Citation

For any use or distribution of these materials, please cite as follows:

Mary Fuller. Course materials for 21L.995: Special Topics in Literature: Milton's "Paradise Lost," IAP 2008. MIT OpenCourseWare (, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Downloaded on [DD Month YYYY].


1Introduction to reading Milton; book I
2Books II-IIIJournal due for all
3Book IVJournal due for group A
4Books V-VIJournal due for group B
5Book VII-VIIIJournal due for group A
6Book IXJournal due for group B
7Books X-XIJournal due for group A
8Book XII and conclusionsJournal due for group B


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