Monday, November 25, 2013

Annotated Bibliography: Research Process

As I am researching more and more I’m beginning to think that maybe I’m not going deep enough. In addition to the thesis below I’ve been gathering information specifically regarding Milton’s deviation from traditional methods, and perchance utilizing these deviations to point out Christ’s superiority (meaning c. The thesis below is still bumbling but it isn’t as long. Is it too general? Too narrow? 

Working Thesis #2: Although Milton’s heavy use of classical pagan allusions can be a cause of confusion as far as his Christian directives, Milton is further defining his divine calling that they are a means to an end, that end being a personal understanding and relationship with Christ as the pinnacle of all learning. As demonstrated in Christ’s rebuttal of classical scholarship in “Paradise Regained."

1. Social Graph
 - Amy Insalaco, my current Classical Traditions professor is extremely well read in any piece of literature that one would take classical allusions from (a.k.a. pretty much everything Milton was referencing) as well as the later blossoming into Christianity. I’m in the process of sending her my thesis and to simply get her ideas on it. As well as any more specific questions I have later on. 
 - Kelly Austin, a former friend and Young Woman leader, who is also an English professor at Xavier University in Ohio (she’s awesome:). I’ve sent her papers and ideas in the past but lately we’ve been out of touch. I’m hoping to send her some drafts/snippets of ideas and the structure of the paper as a whole for feedback. 
 - Matthew, husband. He’s very good at critically analyzing things, pulling out discrepancies, or providing a different angle. Though he doesn’t have any specific background in literature he has/will provide a fresh insight for my ideas and make sure that they are intelligible.
 - Bryant and Jenny Marchant, my lovely parents. Wonderful listeners (because they love me) and great critics. They enjoy (or pretend to enjoy) talking about my papers with me and are great to have discussions with about them, straightening out broken premises or missing ideas. 

2. New Media
- I did a Google Blog Search and this brief blog post popped up about Milton’s sonnet “When I Consider How My Light Is Spent.” From their blurb it occurred to me that this (the sonnet) is a great source for expressing Milton’s  desire to fulfill his God given calling, or purpose in life.
 - Another Blog Search result, this is a post written by a converted Muslim about Milton’s devotion to his God focusing especially on De Doctrine Christiana (which I am in the process of finishing). Really interesting point of view! More of a background look than analysis it opens up the text a bit more for me and into Milton’s ideas about God.

3. Social Networks
 - I posted this in a blog post a week or two ago. Milton Society of America - thus far I’ve found the list of new and forthcoming articles to be most helpful, pointing to relevant articles as well as the authors (academic stalking…I think its a little bit hilarious;) 
 - Goodreads - I’ve found a couple discussions/groups/threads regarding John Milton, Classical Texts, Christianity, and a writing group that I plan to post my thesis or questions on. Hopefully, I’ll get some constructive feedback.
 - Twitter & Google+- I’m enjoying poking around and academic stalking. I’ve found a couple groups that I plan on posting my thesis to and hopefully getting feedback. 

4. Traditional Scholarly Sources
       1. (This is a dissecting of the little bit before of a passage you used in your blog post on Paradise Regained. Author argues that after Satan has gone on and on about the classical scholars Christ has a spiel about “Don’t you think I know this? and chiasmus, negatives, and litotes, and just straightening out what he is really saying. Good analysis in this one, although short.)
Mulryan, John. "Milton's Paradise Regained." The Explicator 64.4 (2006): 211. Literature Resource Center. Web. 12 Nov. 2013.
Possible useful quotations (or just things to keep your mind on track)
"but the Son appears to be saying that it does not matter whether or not Satan believes that the Son is conversant in classical culture; divine revelation ("light from above") is all the knowledge that the Son needs."
2. (Dissects Book III and how Christ’s sayings about glory and fame are contradictory, also about Job and Socrates. This one I don’t particularly agree with and don’t know if I will necessarily want to use. But it could be great background in my “common ground” section and what I will be arguing against or in variance.)
Miller, Timothy C. "Milton's 'Paradise Regained.' (English poet John Milton)." The Explicator 56.1 (1997): 14+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 12 Nov. 2013.

3. (Would only use as another proof that Milton uses others to represent, reflect, Christ. Here it is demonstrated that Samson is an effective representation of Christ.)
Hillier, Russell M. "Grotius's Christus Patiens and Milton's Samson Agonistes." The Explicator 65.1 (2006): 9+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 12 Nov. 2013.

4. (I haven’t read the whole thing yet and it is more of a argument that the Son is an extension/representaion of Milton than it is of Milton representing Christ. But it does point out that Milton feels he is working under the directive of a divine calling.)
Taylor, Patricia R. "The Son as collaborator in Paradise Regained." Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 51.1 (2011): 181+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 12 Nov. 2013.
Milton published far more than just the anonymous political tracts--in fact, most of his writings were published under his own name--and Milton is far from absent in Paradise Regained, despite his emphasis on being divinely inspired.

5. (Discusses the topics in the title and right down my alley as far as classical pagan literature reconciliation with religion, etc. This is the article that makes me question where I am heading a bit. I have yet to finish it but I don’t want to be regurgitating other’s arguments. See the blurb up at the top.)
Campion, Edmund. "Defences of Classical Learning in St. Augustine's De Doctrina Christiana and Erasmus's Antibarbari." History of European Ideas 4.4 (1983): 467-71. Print.


  1. You are circling in on it but your thesis is still a bit hazy. I think you should boil it down to the apparent paradox between Milton's use and rejection of the classical tradition. As far as your sources go, what's missing is scholarship about Milton's life -- his background in the classical tradition, his sense of ambition fueled by that tradition, his religious convictions at odds with that tradition, etc.

  2. Number 2 in your traditional scholarly sources: It is good to recognize and use sources you don't agree with so you can more fully explain why you hold the views you do. Don't be too quick to throw out things you don't agree with simply because you disagree with them.

    (I realize that Dr. Burton has already said this, but I'm seconding it) You'll want some biographical information on Milton.