Spenser and Milton (Free Course)

Taught by William Flesch at Brandeis University, Spenser and Milton are the two greatest non-dramatic English poets of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and they even rival Shakespeare.  Shakespeare read (and adopted) Spenser; Milton read and used Spenser as a way to think about poetic, aesthetic, religious and political issues in a non-Shakespearean way.  This course covers all of Spenser’s great allegorical poem The Faerie Queene, and all of Milton’s major poetry, including Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained. Any complete editions of Spenser and Milton will suffice.

1) Introduction: Allegory in Spenser and in Milton: Audio

2) Spenser: Book I of the Faerie Queene and the Spenserian stanza: Audio

3) Allegory and character in Spenser: Audio

4) More on allegory and character, inner and outer, with the examples of Orgoglio and of Despayre in Book I: Audio

5) Spenser: Book II: Spenser and certainty.  Guyon’s priggishness: Audio

6) Book II: Temperance and self-restraint.  The pleasures of self-restraint.  Mirth and Mammon: Audio

7) Book II: The Bower of Blisse and the Lovely Lay sung there: Audio

8) Book III: Why do Guyon and Britomart (Temperance and Chastity) fight?: Audio

9) Book III: Britomart and allegory: Audio

10) Book III: Allegory and human individuality: Audio

11) Book III: Amoret, Belphoebe and what the House of Busirane is for: Audio

12) What it’s like to live in the Land of Faery; the Garden of Adonis: Audio

13) Matter and Form in the Garden of Adonis: Audio

14) Book IV: Love and Friendship: Audio

15) Book IV: The Friend as Second Self: Audio

16) Book IV: Scudamor at the Temple of Venus: Audio

17) Book V: Varieties of Justice: Audio

18) Books V and VI: The relation of Justice to Courtesy: Audio

19) Variety and Uniformity in Books V and VI: Audio

20) Book VI as pastoral: Audio

21) Last, best class on the Faerie Queene: Scopophilia and narrative: Audio

22) Milton: Lycidas: Audio

23) Contrasts and Debates in Milton: Audio

24) Lycidas and Comus: Audio

25) Comus, rape, and freedom: Audio

26) Paradise Lost and freedom: Audio

27) Paradise Lost: The mind is its own place.  The Lady from Comus and Satan: Audio

28) Paradise Lost as anti-allegorical poem.  Invocation to Book 3: Audio

29) Paradise Lost: Who gets to judge God’s ways?: Audio

30) Paradise Lost: Warnings and failures to warn: Audio

31) Paradise Lost: Prayer and Invocation: Audio

32) Dreams, allegories, and other minds in Milton: Audio

33) Moral typologies in Paradise Lost: Audio

34) How humans think things through in Milton: Audio

35) Temptation in Paradise Lost, Areopagitica and Paradise Regained: Audio

36) Last class: Samson and his blindness.  Closet drama: Audio


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