ENGL 220 - Lecture 3 - Credible Employment

Lecture 3 - Credible Employment


This lecture examines the role and meanings of the word vocation in Milton's life-long meditation on (and concern for) what it means to be chosen by God. Milton's profound anxiety in the years following his graduation from Cambridge regarding his poetic career and, more specifically, his status as a Christian poet selected by God for greatness is outlined. The topic is traced through Milton's polemical treatise The Reason of Church Government, the poem Ad Patrem, and the author's correspondence. Particular emphasis is placed on Milton's interpretations of the parable of the talents and the parable of the workers in the vineyard. Substantial context on the nature of election and salvation is supplied from the writings of John Calvin and Max Weber.



John Milton. Complete Poems and Major Prose. (Hughes): 
Sonnet VII: "How soon hath Time" (1631), p. 76 
Ad Patrem [To His Father] (1632-37), pp. 82-86 
The Reason of Church Government (1642), pp. 665-71 
Sonnet XIX: "When I consider" (1652), p. 168 

Prolusion III & VII, pp. 604-607, 621-29 
The Second Defense of the English People (1654), pp. 828-32

Matthew 20:1-16 (parable of the workers in the vineyard) 
Matthew 25:14-30 (parable of the talents)

Additional reading: 
Milton, John. "Letter to a Friend" (1633). In John Milton: a Critical Edition of the Major Works, edited by S. Orgel and J. Goldberg, 1-3. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991

For Section Discussion:

John Milton. Complete Poems and Major Prose. (Hughes): 
L'Allegro and Il Penseroso (1631), pp. 67-76 
"On Shakespeare" (1630), p. 63

Additional reading: 
Johnson, Samuel. "Milton" (1779). In Milton Criticism: Selections from Four Centuries, edited by James Thorpe, 65-88. New York: Collier, 1950. (Dr. Johnson's comments on L'Allegro and Il Penseroso)

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