American Literature 1880-1940: American Modernism

Jan 2010

loved posnock. a total no bullshit professor - he comes into class on time, starts talking whether or not people are quiet, spits knowledge for 85 minutes, stops and walks out. he is encouraging; he never shot down people's comments (some of them were worthy of shoot downs, i might add), but rather compliments them if they are insightful and engages with them if he disagrees. his lectures are consistently interesting and i would often find myself surprised when i looked up at the clock at the end of the class and it was almost over. strongly suggested class and prof.

Mar 2007

This class had an amazing reading list and I loved almost all the books we read. But other than that, I got almost nothing out of the class. It was taught like an American Studies course, so was full of extra information on the authors and the time period and almost no interesting literary analysis. There were days where she didn't even get around to discussing the actual text itself. Lectures were fairly obvious, especially for a 4000 level lit class.

Dec 2003

I wasn't sure about taking this class, given the mostly negative reviews from 2002, but Prof. Adams seems to have improved since she last taught it. It's worth taking for the reading list alone, given the authors (Stein, Pound, Eliot, Fitzgerald, Hurston, Faulkner, Agee/Evans) that are on the syllabus. Prof. Adams incorporated a lot of art and a few films (including Chaplin's Modern Times) into the course, which helped with the examination of modernism and was especially useful with Stein and Agee/Evans. Prof. Adams had a lot to say, most of which was useful, though she did have some problems teaching the poetry unit, which was one of the least interesting parts of the class. She incorporated some discussion into the lecture to some success, and there was a reading group open to graduates and interested undergrads. The one issue with this class was that you pretty much can't skip lectures - the midterm and final were very difficult to do well on unless you had attended most of the classes or knew someone who took phenomenal notes. Other than that, I found this class to be a good intro to twentieth century American lit and a well-detailed exploration of modernism. English majors who are dreading the American requirement should look into this class.

May 2002

If you enjoy modern lit. or even lit. in general, do not take this course. Prof. Adams managed to suck the life out of virtually every book we read. Her lectures sounded as if she was reading a paper aloud (and a dry, simplistic one at that). She wasted a lot of time repeating herself, making obvious points, beating the gender issue to death, and reading quotes aloud. Basically her lectures had the content of a high-school English paper but were delivered in overly intellectual terms (She is one of those people who makes up complicated words to describe simple things. My favorite of her creations was "massification.") I would never have gone to class if not for the quizzes (which were ridiculous). Read the books on your own and don't give Adams the opportunity to ruin them for you.

May 2002

Despite the other student's comments, American Modernism turned out to be my favorite class all term. Of course, the stellar syllabus aided in this matter (Fitzgerald, Stein, Hemingway, Faulkner, Cather, Hurston, Eliot, Stevens, Williams, Pound etc.), but I really felt that Prof. Adams held her own. Once you get past her incredibly whiny voice (which, I admit, is hard to do at first) her lectures were both insightful and enjoyable. It really is a pity that her voice is such a detriment to the delivery of her content. It makes her sound slow and stupid, and she is none of these. Granted, several of her lectures had the gender/sexuality spin that so many of the female English professors do (I hate it, and I am a girl.) Some of *these* connections may have seemed like a reach. However, her interdisciplinary approach truly broadened my understanding of the time period. Reading contemporary theorists on race, industrialization, immigration, etc. gave me a feel for the theoretical atmosphere from which the authors emerged. Additionally learning (albeit rather superficially) about the art of the era as well as films lended a deeper dimension to my understanding of the texts. I missed only one class the entire term; I found her lectures that interesting and engaging. Again, it truly is a matter of getting over the nature of her voice and beyond that she is an amazing professor. Always eminently well-prepared and eager to help students out.

May 2002

Excellent syllabus, horrible professor. Prof. Adams' teaching style is extremely plodding and tedious. Most students did not show up regularly for class, although the pop quizzes did increase attendance. The quizzes were generally pretty easy, if you did the reading and listened to the lectures--a task that got harder as the semester wore on. Although she does have some good insight, Prof. Adams' commentary was often rather obvious. Also, trying to cover so many excellent works in a single semester leads to gross glossing over of many of the more interesting points in the books/poems. For example, she often assigned 10 poems for one class period--it is impossible to discuss that many pieces in a single class, and it is impossible (given normal time constraints of college) to digest that many poems with any depth during a single nights homework. There are only two major assignments for this class. This sounds excellent, but of course means that each assignment is worth a large chunk of your grade--a double-edged sword. There is little in-class explanation/direction for the papers (i.e. she tells us to do an in-depth poetry analysis, but expects us to be familiar with scanning and other techniques of analysis, or to read-up on them on our own). Also, it is difficult to get office hours as there are 120 people in the class and only one prof and three TAs. Overall, the course gives you a rewarding reading list, but perhaps one that is better read on your own.

May 2002

Not the greatest of classes, although Prof. Adams always has organized lectures based from her extensive notes. It's a solid class for the material, although many in the class agreed that some of the connections she made between the texts were a bit far fetched. Not the most exciting of teachers as well, in some cases taking a great book and reducing it to boredom. Overall, not a bad course, great syllabus, but I wouldn't take it again if I could go back. Cool mixture of media though.