3 john milton - il penseroso and interpretation

Text-only Preview

  1. Week ThreeJohn Milton‘Il Penseroso’ and ‘L’Allegro’
  2. John Milton (1608-1674)
    ‘L’Allegro’, ‘Il Penseroso’, and Interpretation
  3. Essay Requirements
    750-1000 words, contrary to the handbook.
    Format ‘Write a critical analysis of one of the following poems....’
    So, what, in your opinion, is a critical analysis?
  4. Just Some of Your Options...
    Read Poem Metrically
    Read Poem Semantically
    Read Poem Syntactically
    Read Poem Formally
    Read Poem Phonically
    Construct Semantic Thesis
    Construct Metrical Thesis
    Construct Syntactic Thesis
    Construct Formal Thesis
    Construct Phonetic Thesis
    Integrate two or more of your theses into an analysis:
    Semantic-Metrical Analysis; Metrical-Syntactic Analysis; Syntactic-Formal-Phonetic Analysis
    Integrate your theses into a coherent ARGUMENT
  5. Just Some of Your Options...
    Read Poem Metrically
    Read Poem Semantically
    Read Poem Syntactically
    Read Poem Formally
    Read Poem Phonically
    The meaning of ‘Il Penseroso’ is...
    The meter of ‘Il Penseroso’ produces these effects...
    The syntax of ‘Il Penseroso’ produces these effects...
    The form of ‘Il Penseroso’ is unusual because...
    The phonetic qualities of ‘Il Penseroso’ produce these effects...
    (Semantic-Metrical) The meter of ‘Il Penseroso’ contributes to the meaning in the following way.
    Milton’s use of meter to complement meaning is successful because...
  6. Interpreting ‘Il Penseroso’
    Read the poem as a group and negotiate a shared interpretation of the meaning or meanings with which it engages.
    NB: Consider closely the phrasing of that sentence, bearing in mind the Sontag essay, and the concept that: ‘A poem should not mean but be.’
  7. Simplified Example of the Process
    Semantic reading:
    ‘Il Penseroso’ is primarily concerned with introspection.
    Syntactic reading:
    ‘Il Penseroso’ uses first-person pronouns more frequently than ‘L’Allegro’.
    Integrated semantic-syntactic thesis:
    By focalising the reader’s response through the frequent usage of first-person pronouns, Milton’s ‘Il Penseroso’ explores the notion of introspection on both a semantic and a syntactic level.
    What might you do next?
  8. Developed Example of the Process
    Supported Argument:
    In contrast to the comparatively extroverted ‘L’Allegro,’ Milton infuses its partner piece, ‘Il Penseroso,’ with an introspection configured at both a semantic and syntactic level: where the perspective of ‘L’Allegro’ is focalised through the use of first-person pronouns on just seven occasions – an average of once every 22 lines – the same effect is achieved in ‘Il Penseroso’ seventeen times – or once every ten lines.
    What might you do next?
    ... Nevertheless, Milton’s subtlety in conveying such a tone of introspection is inherent in his masterful negotiation of the meter....
  9. Group Task
    Groups of three attempt to analyse the poem from one of the following perspectives, then feed back to the group:
    NB: You may find your reading in the Norton anthology helpful in this task.
  10. Discussion
    What sorts of theses might we be able to construct on the basis of the findings of each of the groups?
    Try and write three integrated theses to share with the group.