ENGL 220 - Lecture 6 - Lycidas

Lecture 6 - Lycidas

Overview

Milton's poem Lycidas is discussed as an example of pastoral elegy and one of Milton's first forays into theodicy. The poetic speaker's preoccupation with questions of immortality and reward, especially for poets and virgins, is probed. The Christian elements of the poem's dilemma are addressed, while the solution to the speaker's crisis is characterized as erotic and oddly paganistic, pointing towards the heterodox nature of much of Milton's thinking.

Resources

Assignment

John Milton. Complete Poems and Major Prose. (Hughes): 
Lycidas (1637), pp. 116-25
Manso (1638), pp. 127-30
Epitaphium Damonis (1639-40), pp. 132-39 
Sonnet VIII: "When the Assault" (1642), p. 140

Additional reading: 
Milton, John. "To Charles Diodati" (1637). In John Milton: a Critical Edition of the Major Works, edited by S. Orgel and J. Goldberg, 717-19. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991
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 Lycidas)

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