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PL Theory Presentations

Page history last edited by Eric Leonidas 3 years, 3 months ago




The assignment is pretty simple: you and your partner will give a short presentation (about 10 minutes) explaining two related theoretical concepts and using one segment of Paradise Lost to show what each concept can help us see, and any limitations to its use.


Handout: You will prepare a handout and bring copies for everyone (we have 18 students).  I recommend one side for each term presented.  The handout will include a definition of your term, your general claim, the passage text you will explain as support, and your critique (this last you could do as bullet points).




You can decide how to organize the presentation for yourselves, but you must include:


Definitions (2 pts)


For each concept, you should provide a concise definition.  You may adopt the definition from Guerin, from our “Theory Concepts” webpage, from the various handouts I gave you, or from another source.  You should give your definition, but also a very brief elaboration.


General Claim (3 pts)


I’d like you to simply and quickly explain, in general terms, what your concept can illuminate in a part of PL that we wouldn’t otherwise see.  So, for instance, the concept of “colonization” might help us understand Satan’s exchanges Chaos in a new way (and, since Satan wants the new cosmos to return to Chaos, maybe we’ll see a perspective on colonization we may not have appreciated).  “Ecology” or “environmentalism” could shed light on the episode in book 12 in which Moses leads the Israelites out of the desert (Happy Passover!).


Evidence for General Claim (3 pts)


I’d like you to briefly look at one or more short passages from the poem, pulling out important words, phrases and images, to support your “General Claim” above. The "sections" I've identified below are in some cases long; to do an effective close-reading to support your claim you'll need to find a short group, or a couple of short groups, of lines to use.


Theoretical Critique (2 pts)


Briefly explain any limits or shortcomings to using your theoretical concept.  Does it flatten differences among texts, or treat the text merely as a means to talk about other things? Do we lose sight of the small ways characters resist “determinist” influences, whether psychological, political, ideological, etc.?


You each will do this for 1 term, but using one common section of the poem.


Please sign up by putting your name by one of the bulleted terms below:


Wed, April 26


Beezlebub’s speech in Hell (book 2)

  • colony: Emily B.
  • hegemony (Marxism): Sarah A.


Sin’s description of her birth and changes (book 2)

  • misogyny: Sarah S
  • objectification: Jenny
  • paradox: Marion 


War in Heaven (book 6)

  • environmentalism: Clark O.
  • epic: Steve G.


Mon, May 1


Adam’s narration of his birth and desire for a companion (book 8)

  • ecology:Brittany S
  • subjectivity:Natalie R


Separation scene (book 9)

  • subversion: Margot
  • alienation (Marxism): Kayla M.


Satan’s temptation of Eve (book 9)

  • aporia: Sabrina K.
  • binary opposition: Jess B.


The curses (book 10)

  • patriarchy: Ed
  • ideology (Althusser): Taylor
  • logocentrism: Luis


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