[Milton-L] why teach Milton to college students?
jmajor at ucdavis.edu
Mon Jan 26 11:03:08 EST 2004
Thank you, Margaret, for your generous offer. I do appreciate the chance
to read your introduction. The audience for my thoughts on the matter is
small but distinguished: just Peter Medine, who is directing the NEH
Summer Institute on Paradise Lost in Phoenix.
> Julia--I am in the process of writing the introduction to a book on
> moral education in Paradise Lost, and I plan to answer this question
> definitively in it :-). I would be happy to share the first 5-7
> pages of it with you, which outlines the "state of the art" thinking
> about moral development in the college years. Who is your audience
> for these essays?
> Of the essays in Crump's Approaches, I find these statements most useful:
> "Thus the poem must invite sophisticated psychological and moral
> judgments of a kind intrinsic to all valid education" (Richmond in
> Crump 150).
> "the students become passionately involved in a text that, indeed,
> turns out to be about themselves" (Mankoff in Crump 74).
> "Milton's fierce insistence on free will raises questions my students
> like to ponder about various modern determinisms" (Wooten in Crump
> "Addressing fundamental issues about the nature of good and evil and
> the human condition, it exercises its audience and encourages growth
> through the tests and experiences it embodies" (McCutcheon in Crump
> These are not "literary" answers, I realize. Crump makes the
> "literary" argument in his opening salvo:
> "There is little argument regarding the importance of Milton an his
> epic, as they summarize the great literary traditions filtering down
> to the Renaissance in England and as they provide the monument with
> which much later literature must cope, whether it sees that monument
> as something to emulate or execrate" (Crump 1).
> But, frankly, I think the moral development arguments more
> compelling, and more appropriate to discussions of undergraduate
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