"Stuck in the Middle with Dalila"
Thu, October 29, 2009 • 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM • Thompson Conference Center
An Odyssey Course event with John Rumrich
The great eighteenth-century critic Samuel Johnson claimed that Milton’s Samson Agonistes
is an artistic failure because it lacks a middle. He concludes by
insulting readers who nevertheless approve of Milton’s final
masterpiece: “this is the tragedy which ignorance has admired, and
bigotry applauded.” We will look into the term “bigotry,” used here and
elsewhere in critical responses to the tragedy, as a way to better
understand the continuing, controversial relevance of a drama whose
hero kills himself and thousands of his enemies by destroying a great,
Recommended reading: John Milton, Samson Agonistes
JOHN RUMRICH is Arthur J. Thaman and Wilhelmina Dore Thaman Endowed Professor of English at the University of Texas. His recent publications include The Norton Critical Edition of Seventeenth-Century British Poetry and The Complete Poetry and Essential Prose of John Milton.
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