ENGL 220 - Lecture 5 - Poetry and Marriage

Lecture 5 - Poetry and Marriage


This second lecture on Milton's masque probes its complex depictions of virginity and chastity. The version of the masque performed in 1634 is compared with the published version of 1637, with particular emphasis on a monologue on the vanquishing powers of virginity that is created for the latter. The poet's commonplace book, specifically his notes on the self-mutilation of the medieval nuns of Coldingham, is linked to images of the body in the masque. Milton's gradual revision of his initial position favoring life-long virginity is described in detail.


John Milton. Complete Poems and Major Prose. (Hughes):
Re-read Comus, focusing on lines 778-805, 975-1010 (added in 1637 to published version)

Spenser, The Faerie Queene II.x.13-20 (Sabrina episode), II.xii.42-87 (Bower of Bliss), III.vi (Garden of Adonis)

For Section Discussion:

John Milton. Complete Poems and Major Prose. (Hughes):
Sonnet VII: "How soon hath Time" (1631), p. 76
Sonnet IX: "Lady that in the prime" (1645), p. 141
Sonnet XIX: "When I consider" (1652), p. 168
Comus, pp. 86-89

Course Media





Low Bandwidth Video

mov [100MB]

High Bandwidth Video

mov [500MB]