About Coe > Thursday Forum > November

Heaven and Hell in the 17th Century: John Milton's "Paradise Lost"

November 6, 13, 20, December 4

Regarded today as the author of one of the greatest works of English literature, John Milton was a radical in his own time, far outside the mainstream in his views on religion, politics and marriage. "Paradise Lost" was written after Milton had dedicated two decades to public service during perhaps the most tumultuous period in English history, the civil wars of the 1640s and Oliver Cromwell's interregnum government.

With English Professor Gina Hausknecht, participants will read excerpts from "Paradise Lost" and discuss how they reflect Milton's beliefs and values and how we can see him challenging many of the dominant assumptions of his day. Certain dimensions of life in Milton's paradise may be surprising: in his view, some aspects of human experience are natural, inevitable and not inherently wrong, including marital disagreements, arguing with authority figures, bad dreams and sex.


Gina Hausknecht
John William King Professor of Literature and Creative Writing