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2024/25 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL3163 Milton

20 creditsClass Size: 25

School of English

Module manager: Dr Alison Searle

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module explores John Milton’s epic poem, Paradise Lost, in detail, engaging with its principal ideas and themes, and considering how it continues to influence both literature and politics today. We will also read several of Milton’s shorter poems and dramas, including ‘Lycidas’ and Comus, some of his prose writings, such as his celebrated attack on censorship, Areopagitica, and a selection of poems by women writers contemporary with Milton including Emilia Lanier, Hester Pulter, and Lucy Hutchinson.


- To enable students to study in detail the principal works of John Milton.
- To advance critical reading and critical thinking skills through the texts read and analysed.
- To develop the rhetorical knowledge needed to engage with the writing of others (including early modern writers and later critical thinkers) productively, critically, and ethically.
- To understand the poetry and prose of Milton, and other early modern women writers, in their cultural and political contexts.
- To equip students to understand the material contexts of cultural production (literary, political, and religious) in early modern England.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of the module students will have demonstrated the following learning outcomes relevant to the subject:
1) A detailed understanding of Milton’s poetry and prose, and an appreciation of its cultural and political contexts.
2) An awareness of the material contexts of textual production in early modern England and how this shapes interpretation of literary works circulating in manuscript and print.
3) An ability to evaluate relevant criticism and scholarship about the works of Milton and other early modern women writers in seventeenth-century England.

Skills Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:
1. Conduct independent research, gathering information from diverse sources in a range of material forms, evaluating its importance and engaging in good academic practice in referencing.
2. Produce independent arguments demonstrating advanced proficiency in critical thinking and writing skills.


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, several of his prose writings, including his celebrated attack on censorship, Areopagitica, and a selection of work by women poets contemporary with Milton.

Teaching methods

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

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Contribution to seminars; feedback on formative assessment (500-word book review); 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 formative assessment will be required which will take the form of a book review. This does not form part of the summative assessment for this module but is a requirement and must be submitted.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 22/05/2024


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