[IN PROGRESS] Reading Paradise Lost with Anne Hall (In-Person Course)

Date / Time

  • November 3, 2022
    6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
  • December 8, 2022
    6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
  • January 12, 2023
    6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
  • February 9, 2023
    6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
  • March 9, 2023
    6:30 pm - 8:30 pm


2008-2010 Delancey Place, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19103, United States

Sponsored by Genie and James Murphy



Course Description

The plot of Milton’s Paradise Lost is the story of the Fall, but its heart is Milton’s insights into the soul of fallen humanity. When young, Milton did not concentrate on fallenness;  he concentrated on freedom.  He followed the ancients in holding that happiness lies in the freedom that undergirds the community’s strength and dignity and that also undergirds the happiness of the individual.  For the community, freedom is freedom from the indignity of slavery.  For the individual, freedom is freedom from the intellectual shackles of tradition.  It is also the strength that comes from considering ideas that are not in step with tradition. In the Areopagitica, Milton’s argues against official limitations to both the community’s and to the individual’s freedom to think. By the time he came to write Paradise Lost, however, Milton was no longer sure that the ancient view is the key to human happiness and dignity. In this course, we will read Milton’s Areopagitica and excerpts from his other prose writings and all of Paradise Lost.  We will explore how in Paradise Lost, Milton reconsiders the ancient view of human happiness.  The approach to Paradise Lost, then, will be both literary and philosophical. 

Paradise Lost syllabus

About the Instructor

Anne Hall taught for 25 years in the English department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, another 18 years in the English department at the University of Pennsylvania, and for the Rosenbach, has led courses on Mann’s The Magic Mountain and Doktor Faustus, Henry James’ The Portrait of a Lady and The Ambassadors. 

About Rosenbach Courses

Revisit beloved classics or experience new ones with Rosenbach courses. Book lovers delve into fiction, history, and poetry with the guidance of a literary expert and the company of other readers. See all upcoming courses.

By registering for this program, you will be added to The Rosenbach’s email database to receive future communication about programs and events. If you’d prefer not to receive these messages please email [email protected]g with unsubscribe in the subject line. 


Image Caption: Me miserable! Which way shall I fly, Infinite wrath, and infinite despair? lllustration of Paradise Lost by Gustave Doré