Spenser, Milton and the English Epic ספנסר, מילטון, והאפוס האנגלי
BA Seminar סמינר בי איי
Dr. Noam Reisner ד"ר נועם רייזנר
Following the revival and rediscovery of classical literature in the renaissance, poets and authors across Europe attempted to revive the great epic tradition of Homer and Virgil by applying classical epic conventions to contemporary themes and concerns in their respective vernaculars. In England, this trend saw the creation of two great epic poems, first, in the height of the Elizabethan period, Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene, and then six decades later, during the Restoration, John Milton's Paradise Lost. Between Spenser and Milton, the great English epic was born, and this seminar will offer an in-depth exploration of both poems as they relate to their shared literary past, to their respective immediate topical themes and concerns, and finally to each other, in establishing a distinctively English, Protestant epic tradition. We will combine close readings of extensive sections from both poems with reflections on various cultural, historical, philosophical and stylistic contexts, as we come to terms with the great inventiveness of both poets and the rich legacy of their art.
Primary texts: Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene, and John Milton's Paradise Lost. We will also read and discuss select passages from the classical epics of Homer and Virgil, from medieval romance, and from the continental renaissance epic poetry of Dante, Tasso and Du Bartas.
Requirements: Active class participation, a midterm assignment, and a seminar paper.