Colloquium in Literary Theory

Nov 2011

Hmm.... What to say about O'Keeffe? You see, I honestly can't decide. There's a part of me who wants to bow down to him and say "Teach me all that you know." There's a side of him that is charming, funny, friendly, and very relaxed. It's clear that he is very intelligent. But that isn't all. Out of nowhere he can become condescending, dismissive, elitist, and aggressive. It isn't that Brian doesn't have interesting things to say or doesn't push you to the next level of your own potential (which is what we should all want in a professor), he simply doesn't do a very good job in his delivery, which is to say that his "constructive criticism" often comes off as plain old criticism, served up straight and harsh. This man is a character out of a novel. Read the reviews below. Read all of them. Understand that this is who this man is. Accept it. Move on. Take his class. And whatever he has to say to you, try not to take it personally.

Apr 2011

I seem to be the only student on campus who doesn't have a total boner for professor O'keeffe. This course basically boiled down to a few hours a week of considering whether or not he knew that his pants were really too tight for any self respecting man to wear to class, even one who so clearly craved the attention of his fawning, mousy, lit-geek students. If you grasp the platonic/aristotelian conflict that he lays out over the first few weeks of class you can pretty much check out for the rest of the semester because he will not care if that's all you write about it in every assignment that follows. Frankly, he will beat that dead horse all the way into the final lectures you will most likely have to have during reading week since getting through any material came second to his continued ability to jack off to his own intelligence in front of a room full of wide-eyed undergrad girls. This course left me with a sour taste in my mouth for the entire field of comp lit, to the point that I tried to change my major during the last week of classes, if only so as not to have to take another course with O'keeffe. His attempts to impress us with his downness by inviting us for wine and cheese in his Harlem apartment (to and from which he insisted on personally escorting us) merely came off as obnoxious. And though he seems to think that name dropping Austen every other class makes him an enlightened male, he confessed to me while chatting that he gave up on Pride and Prejudice after the first 50 pages and "watched the movie instead." Comp lit majors, just take the english department colloquium.

Jan 2009

Great class. Brian is terrible about managing his time, so we ended up at the end of the year with several more theorists still to get to and had to had several classes in reading week. This wasn't fantastic. But he's so great, and knows so much about theory, that it didn't matter. I didn't mind having this at 9:10. He talks a lot and it's easy to ask him questions. The subject matter was fascinating, although I was frustrated that we were expected to have read every piece of literature ever written or spoken in order to understand what was going on. You better know your Austen and Stendhal before coming in. Actually--it doesn't matter, it's pretty easy to pick up the main ideas and then name drop when appropriate--the point is that we didn't read any actual lit in the class, and that made it difficult to figure out how to put lit and theory together.