American Realism

Dec 2005

Even in the first class, there were too many large pauses and stretches of silence. Posnock does not give an extended, protracted lecture, but usually gives short statements about one issue, pauses, contemplates, and then gives the next. Lectures would probably have been more engaging with more student input and participation, but since most students probably did not do much of the reading, most did not have much to say, and the class then quietly went on. In private exchange and office hours, Posnock is brilliant and informative and can point you to a wealth of resources, but in class, he is slower and sometimes tendentious. He made it clear from the first class that the impact of capitalism and lack of individuality would be salient themes. So that led to him asking in each lecture, "Is there really such a thing as a free individual?" The theme is relevant, but sometimes it rose to the point of being hyperbolical. Close readings do not just ratify only one interpretation, but the economic/capitalist one had unquestioned dominance in the class.

Nov 2005

i couldnt find a review on this guy before registering and i wish i had. i am not a literature major, nor do i care about ficticious books, but posnock does nothing to peak interest. first class he didnt say hello or introduce himself, he just started talking in the middle of a sentence and then i guess stopped at 4 o'clock. the lectures are extremely slow-paced, boring, monotonous, and not very relevant to anything else. posnock is an intelligent and nice guy, i guess, but i prefer teachers who teach the reason that theyre here and why we're reading this. the books were all about white/black woman/man relationships in the 19th century, and i hated the way all of them ended. in lecture he never talked about psychological factors, or interesting cultural things, and i found it very hard to know what he was talking about most of the time. i took as many notes as possible but theyre useless. he doesnt like to call on people when the idea is still in your head and i can tell people are sleeping in class. nice guy, boring subject, s-l-o-w lectures but luckily not toooooo much work. if you like literature youll probably like this course, but if you dont, STAY AWAY.