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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL32163 Milton

20 creditsClass Size: 20

School of English

Module manager: Dr Alison Searle

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

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 in a range of material forms.
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 one of the most impressive and controversial poems in the language.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, some of his prose writings, including his celebrated attack on censorship, Areopagitica, and a selection of work by women poets contemporary with Milton.

Seminars will focus on particular books of Paradise Lost and on the shorter texts. Workshops will introduce students to the material contexts of textual production in early modern England, to key ideas in Milton's work, and by examining his writing alongside that of contemporaries such as Emilia Lanier, Lucy Hutchinson and Hester Pulter locate Milton's work within the context of the political, cultural 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 workshops (5 x 2 hours) plus seminars (5 x 1 hour) held on alternating weeks.

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: 29/04/2022 15:24:13


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