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miltonJohn Milton is among the most important and gifted poets to have written in the English language.  This course examines Milton’s early development as a poet, samples his extensive writing in prose—focusing especially on pieces that illuminate his commitment to the English Revolution—and culminates with a careful study of his primary poetic achievements, Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes.  Given the scope of Milton’s imagination, our discussions necessarily will be wide ranging, though we’ll be concerned especially to address the following interrelated issues: Milton’s understanding of what it means to be a poet and what he strives to accomplish through his poetry; his ethical commitments and theological vision; and his changing political views, most centrally his frequently conflicted arguments for political freedom.