January 07, 2005

Knapp, Liza Silver_nugget
Literature & Empire: The Reign of the Russian Novel

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

I can't say enough about Professor Knapp. She is caring, insightful, and really one of the best lecturers I've had at Columbia. In a class with very heavy reading, it is necessary to have a teacher who will reward you (intellectually, at least) for all the time you spend-- and Professor Knapp does just that. Each class, she provides organized commentaries on the themes and plot of the novel, and she asks you to do 'scavenger hunts,' which allow you to find some of the novel's themes and plots for yourself. I liked these, because, for once, I was finding things on my own, without having a teacher simply telling me what is and is not in the novel. She knows Anna Karenina and Tolstoy so unbelievably well. Even if you have read the book before, you will get a thousand times more out of it with her as your guide. Most importantly, she is truly excited about what she is teaching, and you can tell that she loves it -- this will definitely rub off on you.

Workload:

A ton of reading (Eugene Onegin, Hero of Our Time, Fathers and Sons, Dead Souls, Anna Karenina, Brothers Karamazov, Chekhov's Stories). 1 paper (7-10 pages), 1 take-home midterm (7-10 pages), 1 open book final. She is definitely a fair grader.