This class will read two long poems: Edmund Spenser's*The FaerieQueene* and John Milton's *Paradise Lost*. We are interested in how these poems relate to broad traditions of epic (and numerous other literary forms, as well), how they relate to one another, and how they work as long poems. We are interested as well in how they relate to the history and thought of the times in which they were written, and how they can continue to be read and enjoyed in our own very different time. The course will require a willingness to read a great deal of poetry and to speak about it in class. Some additional secondary works will also be assigned. The class will require two longish papers. Students should also expect exercises in oral interpretation of these texts (that is, reading them aloud publicly).