Milton Alive at 400: Samson Agonistes and Religious Violence

The University of Miami and Florida International University present “Milton Alive at 400: Samson Agonistes and Religious Violence” celebrating the 400th anniversary of the birth of poet John Milton

‌‌“Milton Alive at 400: Samson Agonistes and Religious Violence,” a two day symposium, was presented by Florida International University and the University of Miami on Thursday, February 26 and Friday, February 27, 2009. Renowned scholars from around the country joined noted faculty members from the two regional universities to hold panel discussions on the complex subject of religion, politics and violence. Joining in the worldwide quadricentennary celebration of Milton’s birth, they used his closet drama, Samson Agonistes, as a springboard for these discussions. The symposium was organized by Professors Jeffrey Shoulson , University of Miami and Andrew Strycharski, Florida International University.

On Thursday, February 26th a panel of Milton specialists from around the country discussed “Samson Agonistes and Religious Violence” at Wesley House on the University of Miami campus. The panel featured eminent panelists such as Stanley Fish , Davidson-Kahn Distinguished University Professor and Professor of Law at Florida International University in Miami, and online columnist for the New York Times.  He is the author of ten books including some of the most influential work on Milton in the last fifty years.


Other panel members included: Feisal Mohamed , Assistant Professor of English at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, author of a recently published book-length study of Milton and an award-winning article on Samson and religious violence; and John Rumrich , Professor of English at the University of Texas, Austin, author of numerous books and articles on Milton, and co-editor of the very important new Modern Library edition of Milton's poetry and prose.

Also on this panel were: Regina Schwartz , Professor of English at Northwestern University, author of Remembering and Repeating: Biblical Creation in Paradise Lost, which won the James Holly Hanford prize for the best book on Milton,  and The Curse of Cain: The Violent Legacy of Monotheism, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize; and Susanne Woods , who has taught at Brown University, Franklin and Marshall College, and most recently at Wheaton College, where she was Provost from 1999 to 2006. She is the author of numerous scholarly studies and her current project is Freedom and Tyranny in Spenser and Milton.  She is currently Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the Department of English at the University of Miami.

Videos of the event