4 biweekly sessions: Thursdays, April 26 – June 7
Instructor: Fran Wilde
Milton’s female characters, notably Eve, were famously disparaged by the likes of Charlotte Brontë and Virginia Woolf who read them as second-class creations—shriveled fruits of their author’s misogyny. Indeed, Milton’s reputation is that of the “first of the masculinists.” We know him as the blind old man who forced his daughters to read him Latin; who wrote women to serve men; who used his magisterial erudition to tell sweeping stories about female inferiority, weakness, and betrayal. This course revisits Milton to recover a complex presentation of female agency in Comus, Paradise Lost, and Samson Agonistes. Even as we consider Milton in his own cultural context, we will examine how the Lady, Eve, and Dalila transcend their historical moment to speak eloquently and powerfully to the inequities, prejudices, and oppressions of our ours.