[Milton-L] query

Kemmer Anderson kanderso at mccallie.org
Tue Aug 29 11:20:46 EDT 2006

 From Secondary School Trench: I started class with "Upon His 
Blindness." I introduced Milton , but since we had an in-service on 
motivating students I had students do a journal entry on What is you 
one Talent? Milton allows me to get know my students. In all classes 
we were going toward Greek drama. But if I was going with Milton 
(someday soon), I am introducing Milton and playing off Peter 
Medine's idea - "The blind poet is the hero of the poem."
Congratulations Ross on teaching graduate students. Fun. Poetics and 
architecture of form. Kemmer

At 06:45 AM 8/29/2006, you wrote:
>I empathize with your puzzlement.  My approach to the problem of 
>PL's reputed impenetrability is to have the students begin, not at 
>the beginning of the poem, but at the chronological beginning of the 
>narrative (roughly) in Book V at line 561 (if memory serves).  The 
>war in heaven has a certain appeal to students who find its greater 
>directness (the through-line to the rebels' expulsion) lacking in 
>Book I that begins of course with the invocation and such.  Book VI 
>ends with the mention of "disobedience," and makes a natural bridge 
>to PL's first line.  I find this reorganization give my students a 
>clearer sense ultimately of the poem's intentions (as much as we can 
>claim to understand them).  Certainly, there will be those who would 
>find such a pedagogical method appalling since it doesn't respect 
>the architectonics of the epic as Milton wrote it, but nevertheless, 
>I have found that students are less resistant, and less perplexed 
>than they might! be sta rting with "Of man's first disobedience ... "
>Good luck, Judith, and wish me the same.  Today I teach Milton to 
>graduate students for the first time (rather than just 
>undergrads).  I find the prospect daunting [but no, I won't be 
>accommodating them the way I've described above].
>Best wishes to all just starting out their semesters.
>Ross Leasure
>Salisbury University
>Salisbury, MD
>-------------- Original message --------------
>From: "Judith Herz" <jherz at alcor.concordia.ca>
>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 Scherer Herz
>Department of English
>Concordia University
>1455 deMaisonneuve Blvd., West
>Montreal, Quebec
>H3G 1M8
>514-848-2424 (ext. 2360)
><mailto:jherz at alcor.concordia.ca>jherz at alcor.concordia.ca
>From: "Judith Herz" <jherz at alcor.concordia.ca>
>To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
>Subject: [Milton-L] query
>Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2006 20:55:55 +0000
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