[Milton-L] Teaching with Lewalski's _Life_

Michele Walfred walfred at udel.edu
Mon Jun 25 10:16:32 EDT 2007

If I may provide a student perspective - I am a 51 year old senior at UD and
took Milton ENGL 328 as an independent study course.  In preparation for
required reading material I thought it wise to read a biography the summer
before. I selected Lewalski's book from the 5 stars on Amazon.com and lack
of other biographies available to me. It presumed the reader had basic
knowledge - religious groups for example, and used vocabulary in general
that went over my head. I read a lot - and this was tough going. Going into
Milton totally green, I ended up getting discouraged, putting it down and
went to Parker's instead, which was mentioned positively on this list serve.
Fortunately I found Parker in my library and didn't have to pay the $180 for
the book and notes.  After reading that and then delving into Milton's major
works and criticisms, I did return to Lewalkski's book and found a lot of
value from it and cited it extensively in my paper - mostly because by then,
I knew what she was talking about.  Bottom line, I didn't think it was a
good introductory biography - Parker was the better story teller and whetted
my appetite to explore Milton beyond what was required of me to read. 

From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
[mailto:milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] On Behalf Of Eric B. Song
Sent: Friday, June 22, 2007 1:08 PM
To: Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu
Subject: [Milton-L] Teaching with Lewalski's _Life_

Dear Miltonists,

I'd like to solicit advice and pedagogical anecdotes from those of you who 
have used Lewalski's _Life of Milton_ in undergraduate courses. I'm about to

teach a Milton seminar for the first time in the fall, and I'm tentatively 
planning on assigning four or five selections from the biography throughout 
the semester. I'm a bit nervous, though, that what I find eloquent and 
readable accounts of Milton's life and political milieu will strike my 
students as discouragingly confusing and arcane.

Thanks in advance,

Eric B. Song
Department of English
University of Virginia
ericsong at virginia.edu

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