Junior Colloquium (Renaissance) and 17th-Century Poetry

Apr 2010

Ross Hamilton is a rock-star professor. He takes a holistic approach to presenting a literary period - historical, cultural, artistic. At first I thought I was all about straight-up literature but I quickly started to understand what Professor Hamilton was trying to achieve - by the end of the semester I felt that I understood the subject matter and especially the time period, more than I could say regarding most other courses. You will work hard but most probably feel good about it, especially because Professor Hamilton cares less for polished work and more for sincere, hard work. Be prepared to work harder than other junior colloquium students, and then prepared to understand the Renaissance better!

Nov 2009

Professor Plotkin has scarred me permanently in terms of my ability to write. I was always an exceptional writer and he completely ruined my confidence, I really do not understand what he wants in a paper but he always found something to rip up about mine. I would strongly advise you, DO NOT TAKE A CLASS WITH THIS PROFESSOR. Every other English Professor at Barnard gave me a grade A except for this dude who thinks he is something special.

May 2004

I agree with the observations of the other student who reviewed Prof. Prescott's teaching of the Colloquium, but heartily disagree with her response to this brilliant woman's teaching. Yes, she often forgets to bring things with her to class, but just as often she remembers to provide the class with extra tidbit materials and books from her own personal library. She is a veritable library of information not only about her specialties (16th century: incl. Spenser) but about the whole Renaissance, including historical information and great references. I liked Professor Prescott so much for her scholarship, genuine compassion for students, zeal for teaching, and wit, that I took her 17th-Century poetry class as well. As for Prof. Prescott's bawdy comments and sexual innudendo, they are nothing but appropriate to the subject of Renaissance literature (if you are going to read Rabelais and Donne, you should be prepared for bawdiness and the subject of sex). I say "right on" to this professor of grandmotherly age's honesty about the content of Renaissance literature The last thing I must say is that Prof. Prescott is one of the most caring teachers I have encountered at Barnard or Columbia. She cares genuinely about her students, is enthusiastic about their work (but knows how to criticize and ask provocative questions when marking your assignments), and despite anything going on in her personal life puts her teaching and her students first. If you are ready and willing not to flaunt your ivy-league laurels but to lose yourself in the beautiful confusion of metaphysical poetry, Cavalier poetry, Rabelais, Spenser, Montaigne, Bacon, Milton, and countless others, take a class with Professor Prescott. Yes, the lectures sometimes get boring, and yes she is not the most organized person; she is, however, a gem among teachers and is not to be missed for those with a love of literature.