[Milton-L] query

Margaret Thickstun mthickst at hamilton.edu
Mon Aug 28 22:43:58 EDT 2006

Judith--I have addressed this problem, successfully I believe, by starting the course with Paradise Lost, which is, after all, the main reason that people read Milton, and then going back to the other material after the students understand what will be important about it, what is interesting in it, what issues he's working out, etc.  I spend the first day of class teasing out of the group the Genesis story and then checking our collective memory against the actual text.  That insures that everyone knows the story Milton is working with, which is what he would have assumed of his audience.

I have been doing this for at least ten years.  I am teaching sophomores through seniors, many non-majors, and an occasional eager first-year student (mine is a spring semester course).  If you aren't too far in your planning, you might consider this approach.  My semester, alas, began this morning.--Margie

----- Original Message -----
From: Judith Herz <jherz at alcor.concordia.ca>
Date: Monday, August 28, 2006 5:11 pm
Subject: [Milton-L] query
To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>

> Pedagogical question:
> I'm thinking of trying something I've never done before in a 
> semester Milton course.  On the assumption that it's nearly 
> impossible to read Paradise Lost without already having read it, 
> I thought I'd require that they read quickly through the poem 
> during the first month while we're doing the early poetry and 
> some prose and then a day or so after we actually begin PL, I 
> would give a quiz worth 15% to assure that they in fact have 
> done this.
> I would very much like to hear any comments,  pros and/or 
> cons about this possibility.
> This, by the way, would be in addition to the course 
> requirements of a weekly Reading Notebook (5-600 words, 
> collected 3 times over the semester) in which they respond to 
> study questions, class discussions, etc., and a term paper and 
> final exam.
> thanks in advance
> Judith
> Judith Scherer Herz
> Professor 
> Department of English
> Concordia University
> 1455 deMaisonneuve Blvd., West
> Montreal, Quebec
> Canada
> H3G 1M8
> 514-848-2424 (ext. 2360)
> jherz at alcor.concordia.ca
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