ENGL 220 - Lecture 10 - God and Mammon: The Wealth of Literary Memory

Lecture 10 - God and Mammon: The Wealth of Literary Memory


This second lecture on Paradise Lost looks at hell and its inhabitants, as depicted in Books I and II. Milton's struggle both to match and outdo his literary predecessors is examined by way of allusions to the works of Homer and Edmund Spenser, particularly the cave of Mammon episode in Book Two of The Faerie Queene. The presence of classical mythological figures, such as Medusa and Mulciber, in the Christian hell of Paradise Lost is pondered, along with early distinctions in the poem, frequently blurred, between good and evil, beautiful and ugly, and heaven and hell.


John Milton. Complete Poems and Major Prose. (Hughes):
Paradise Lost, Books I and II

Additional reading:
Spenser, The Faerie Queene II.vii. (Cave of Mammon episode)
Johnson, Samuel. "Milton" (1779). In Milton Criticism: Selections from Four Centuries, edited by James Thorpe, 65-88. New York: Collier, 1950. (Dr. Johnson on Milton's Sin and Death)

Recommended: Spenser, The Faerie Queene I.i.10-28 (Errour)

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