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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL32163 Milton

20 creditsClass Size: 30

For full module descriptions of our level 2 and 3 undergraduate modules (including details of preparatory reading, texts for purchase and required unassessed work) please see the Undergraduate Module Handbook in the English Organisation on the VLE.

Visiting and Exchange Students must read this information before selecting modules.

Module manager: Dr Tess Somervell

Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

This module is not approved as a discovery module


To enable students to study in detail the principal works of John Milton

Learning outcomes
A detailed understanding of Milton’s poetry and prose, and an appreciation of its cultural and political contexts.

Skills outcomes
Skills for effective communication, oral and written.
Capacity to analyse and critically examine diverse forms of discourse.
Ability to acquire quantities of complex information of diverse kinds in a structured and systematic way.
Capacity for independent thought and judgement.
Critical reasoning.
Research skills, including information retrieval skills, the organisation of material, and the evaluation of its importance.
IT skills.
Time management and organisational skills.
Independent learning.


John Milton (1608-1674) is often called the greatest poet in English. His epic poem Paradise Lost is perhaps the greatest poem in the language, and one of the most controversial. This module provides an opportunity to study Paradise Lost in detail, engage with its principal ideas and themes, and discover how it continues to influence both literature and politics today. We will consider its treatment of revolutionary politics, rebellion, and tyranny; its depiction of poetic and religious inspiration; its ‘grand style’ and unique use of language; issues of gender in its portrayal of Adam and Eve; recent ‘green’ readings of the poem as an environmentalist text; and debates around the ambiguous, seductive character of Satan. We will also read some of Milton’s shorter poems and dramas, including ‘Lycidas’ and Comus, and some of his prose writings, including his celebrated attack on censorship, Areopagitica.

Seminars will focus on particular books of Paradise Lost and on the shorter texts. Supplementary lectures will introduce students to some of the key ideas of Paradise Lost, and locate Milton's work within the context of the political and religious debates of the Civil War and Restoration.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours185.00
Total Contact hours15.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Teaching will be through weekly seminars (10 x 1 hour) plus lectures (5 x 1 hour)

Private Study: Preparatory reading for seminars, exploratory critical and contextual reading, and the planning of the unassessed and assessed writing.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Contribution to Seminars
- Feedback on unassessed work
- Individual meetings to give advice on the preparation of the assessed essay.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay4000 words including quotations and footnotes100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

In addition, a 500 word piece of unassessed work will be required which will take the form of a book review. This does not form part of the assessment for this module, but is a requirement and MUST be submitted. Students who fail to submit the unassessed essay will be awarded a maximum mark of 40 for the module (a bare Pass).

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 01/05/2019


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