There is no disputing that John Milton is considered one of the supreme writers in the history of English letters. Yet, for a number of reasons, many modern readers are unaware of the pleasures of his poetry and prose. These 12 lectures examine Milton's life and work in order to understand the richness and depth of his poetry, its ways of representing 17th-century English life and culture, and its impact on later writers and on English literary history as a whole. You'll learn about Milton's works in all their fullness, whether or not you've read them in the past. You'll get both an introduction to Milton's achievements and a means by which you can cultivate your own thoughts and opinions about works including Paradise Lost and Areopagitica. While Paradise Lost alone could easily be the subject of an entire lecture series, Professor Lerer chooses not to restrict himself to this unique masterwork, but rather to make it manifest in the context of its maker's life and career, and to give you a foundation on which to build your future enjoyment of Milton. Because of this, you'll get a chance to explore Milton's early poetry, "Lycidas," his various political works, Paradise Regained, Samson Agonistes, and more. Professor Lerer describes these lectures as "an invitation to the modern reader to find ways of enjoying, appreciating, valuing, and even struggling through a poetry that says as much about human nature and political life now as it did over three centuries ago." And in learning to feel the living pulse of Milton's world, you'll join generations of readers and authors, including William Wordsworth, T.S. Eliot, and Mary Shelley, who have taken inspiration from his genius.
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Engaging and evaluative
- Edgar Livingstone