The Poetry of John Milton: The Infant Cry of God (Lecture 2 of 24)

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Milton (ENGL 220) Milton's early ode, "On the Morning of Christ's Nativity" (1629) is presented and discussed. The author's preoccupation with his standing as a novice poet and his early ambitions, as carefully outlined in the letter to Charles Diodati, are examined. The ode's subject matter, other poets' treatment of the Nativity, and Milton's peculiar contributions to the micro-genre are discussed, including his curious temporal choices, the competitive attitude of his narrator, and the mingling of Christian and classical elements. The rejection of the pagan world in the poem's final stanzas is explicated and underscored as an issue that will recur throughout the corpus. Additional reading assignments for this class meeting include "At a Vacation Exercise in the College" (1628), "On the Death of a Fair Infant" (1628), and "Elegia sexta" (1629). 00:00 - Chapter 1. Introduction: The Nativity Ode 05:10 - Chapter 2. Milton on Poetry as a Divine Vocation 16:02 - Chapter 3. The Poetic Celebration of the Birth of Christ 18:43 - Chapter 4. Nativity Ode: The Prelude 30:59 - Chapter 5. Nativity Ode: The Hymn Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: This course was recorded in Fall 2007.
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