The Poetry of John Milton is the second course I have gone through on Academic Earth. As I’ve said, I picked it because I have had Paradise Lost on my shelf for years and nearly half of the lectures were on that piece alone.
The instructor was Yale professor John Rogers, and I loved him. He called Milton “the greatest of all the English poets” more than once. He was like the New England Yankee version of a high school English teacher I had – Ted Belch for you District 225 kids. I couldn’t stand Mr. Belch at 14. He was so into the language and everything was dramatic and erotic and I thought he was insane. But listening to Rogers do the same thing made me want to go back to high school for a week to see if I could better appreciate Mr. Belch and Candide.
Well. Not Candide. Candide was lame.
The course begins with some earlier Milton works, including some political prose. If I hadn’t understood Milton through the lens of the Restoration, I would have missed a whole lot about Paradise Lost. This is why school is cool.
There is a lot of discussion of Milton’s politics, and education, and religion and family relations and how they relate to each of the published works. Rogers makes it all sound so personal.
I didn’t read each of the assignments the way the students were required to, and I am certainly not an English major, but I think I got a lot out of it. And I see that there is a course on the Old Testament, which seems to be where Rogers and Milton are driving me.
I love this web site.