December 24, 2013

Nepomnyashchy, Catharine Silver_nugget
[CLRS V3224x] Nabokov

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

The Positive:

Cathy is incredibly knowledgeable. She's currently writing a book about Nabokov, and will often come to class with little anecdotes from her research.
She is definitely interested in her students and is great at interacting with those at different levels of background knowledge of literary criticism. There were some students in our class who knew all the critics she was referring to, and others who had no idea (like me), but I think that everyone on the spectrum came away feeling a little smarter afterwards.
-She's just an incredibly pleasant person. I went to office hours and ended up sitting there for over an hour chatting with her about the texts and the other works that Nabokov dances with throughout his writing. She will really work with you if you're having trouble understanding any concepts.

The Negative:

As the previous reviewer said, Cathy is definitely scattered. You will always know your reading assignment, but little else. You'll get courseworks questions sent to you the day before they're due in class ("due date" is a fluid concept with her generally though, so you're fine).
I never personally found this, but some students could find her somewhat dismissive of their ideas on the texts. The only thing I might knock about her interpretation is that she doesn't want to talk about sexual politics which anyone who has read Nabokov will get is a huge, huge deal.

The Verdict:
Something I loved about this course is that it seems to be much less about grades and papers and much more about learning how to read and appreciate Nabokov for the rest of your life. Frankly, the reading alone makes the class totally worth it because Nabokov is a genius (i.e.: DO NOT take this class if you don't do the reading)


Readings~around 200-300 pages per week, depending on the work and how dense it is.
5-6 'rough' courseworks discussion board posts
In-Class Midterm (we had an 8-page paper instead because our midterm couldn't happen on the day it was supposed to)
In-Class Final -- Easy. You're allowed to have a computer.

Light workload, lots of reading.