If there was a Worst Teaching Award, this guy will make it to the finals, and probably win it! Prof. Braverman is one of the most boring lectures I've ever taken at Columbia. He seems to think too highly of himself, when, actually, I don't think he lives up to the standards. He is way too arrogant! Save yourself from his awful teaching!
Boring, boring, boring! One of the most disaffected professors I've ever taken at Columbia. Save yourself the sham of his class. He is always late, speaks as though he is speaking only for himself, and if you ask him to speak louder, he will tell you that he's having throat problem or something! Problem is: the whole semester goes by like that. I didn't want to listen to the previous reviewers at Culpa, and paid my dues with a boring prof. I agree with the previous reviewer that it is not that this guy is 'stupid,' but simply that he does not give a d**m about teaching.
Engaging professor who makes the readings relevant for contemporary issues and gives very encouraging feedback. Although he doesn't let you off the hook for not reading he recognizes the expected mid semester slump and will carry the conversation of this seminar for those two "slump" classes. Outside of that be prepared to read and discuss at least two of the readings assigned for each class. He does try to give you realistic reading assignments and he chooses a lot that can be printed out from the web to save you money -- if it saves you money.
a boring guy, provided no insight into the great masterpieces we read, arrogant. also not an easy grader.
I am shocked that no one has mentioned the infamous checkered brown shirt that he wore every single day. Toward the end, I was torn as to whether I should be more mentally stunted by his lectures or his wardrobe. Though he is very congenial and endearing, he constantly dons academic blinders; if you don't see it his way, don't bother offering an opinion, as it will not be entertained (except to be insufficiently discredited and absorbed back into his unshakable lecture outline). I actually enjoyed the reading, but there are, as previously mentioned, specific responses to the papers and tests. I regurgitated exactly what he said and got 100 percent on both the midterm and final (this is an easy A if you enjoy staying steadily inside the box). Also, if you don't enjoy the comments of lifelong learners, don't take his class, because he indulges the most inane comments (RB: "What were the social factors playing into Robinson Crusoe's situation?" Random octogenarian: "I can say the alphabet" RB: "Okay. Yes. Very good."), which unfortunately often includes his own.
Braverman does a noble job at bringing to life a bunch of novels (with the exception of a few) that tend to be real dozers. He is quiet, funny and very nice. His knowledge of the novels is impressive. I'm not a huge fan of the literature covered in this course, but I took it to fulfill a distribution requirement. If you like 17th and 18th Century literature, go for it. I have to agree with the previous reviewers disatisfaction with the grading. Overall, I was happy with my grade but I never like it when professors leave all of the grading to a reader. His reader happened to be the type who preferred a really cookie cutter essay that was hardly above a sparknote level of understanding of the novels. I attempted to say something somewhat sophisticated on the first essay but got shot down. On the second essay, I wrote a ton of BS and was enthusiastically rewarded. If this sounds like fun, dive right in!
He's a nice man with a heart of gold. I really hope he doesn't read this website... but here's the honest truth: NOT a good teacher AT ALL. Boring, insubstantial lectures. Low level of discourse (it seems that "okay" is his favorite word, and he references movies and TV shows more than your average pop-culture junkie). For a British-lit fix that will leave you thirsting for more, take a course by Professor Mendelson instead.
Although I am not a huge fan of the literature from this time period, I really enjoyed Prof. Braverman's class. His lectures are very well thought-out, but he rarely has to look at his notes, suggesting that he knows the material forwards and backwards. He generally allots enough class time to each book and always highlights the historical context. Occasionally he gets off topic, but his anecdotes are always amusing and he genuinely seems like he wants to get to know his students.
On the whole, I enjoyed this class. Professor Braverman really connectes the literature to the historical/political/social context in which it was written, which makes the works we read easier to understand and more interesting. I think most students were new to the works we read, so it didn't get too boring. The downside to the class was that it was almost completely lecture, so if you didn't pay attention you could miss a lot. Also because of the class size, it was easy to skip classes, which ended up screwing me over in the end.
I was pleasantly surprised by Professor Braverman. Despite the fact that the material is almost blindly boring at times, that isn't his fault. He does an excellent job of tying the works together historically in an interesting way. Also, I felt comfortable participating in class because he was such an easy-going guy. I am taking another class with him because he is the kind of teacher who will remember you. All in all, I would highly recommend him and this class for fulfilling a pre-1800 requirement. Also, he has lots of funny anecdotes and nonsequitors.
Braverman is incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to British Literature, however he often leaves the class behind when he is lecturing. His train of thought is difficult to follow. Overall however, he makes great points and doesn't hesitate to let the class volunteer and speak as well, in fact he really likes it, even in a larger class of 45. The reading list is interesting; sometimes a bit clunky, yet often times exhilirating and unique. The work load can be cumbersome (reading a book to 2 books a week can be challenging at times), but it pays off to try to do as much of the readings a one can.
I'm gonna go out on a limb and say he has smoked a fair amount . He basically lives on planet braverman, population: one. This has both its blessings and its curses. He is by and large not an engaging lecturer. Either you like the texts and that what draws you in, or you stuggle for the better part of 45 minutes to keep your eyes open. The texts are good. I expected crap and was pleasantly surprised. This is a good class to fill the pre-1800 requirement, not to mention you familiarize yourself with some otherwise forgotten authors. You can take or leave Braverman and his constant mutterings to himself. At the very least he's approachable, and at most an OK lecturer.
Prof. Braverman is an effective instructor. Despite the fact that he has a century of great works to fit into a three months time, he succeeds in choosing great books that all either lead or steer from the rise of the novel (the subconscious theme of the course). His choice of books were surprisingly diverse (not talking about oroonoko!) and engaging. Even the readings in the anthologies were pleasantly of some interest. Of course, some may find his style a bit laid back, etc etc; however, he does display an eagerness to get to know the students and that outweighs any "deficiencies" in lecture style. It didn't hurt to also have one of the best TA's in the English Department for the Fall 2003 Class.
Braverman was all in all... not bad. Not an intensely dynamic lecture but certainly well-informed about the subject. He often has the air of being very stressed out and usually lets class out five minutes early. Bad about being specific with what he wants you to read but good about pulling out all that you need to know to do well in the class in the lecture. If you attend all and listen, you will get an A.
This is the most boring and ineffectual of LitHum teachers it seems to me, although Mr. Braverman is the only one I have had. He is not unkind, nor is he stupid, or angry, but he is bored, and he can't help but disease his poor freshman with his zestlessness. I wish I had just switched after first semester because I realize now I would have rather had someone more demanding and spicy if it meant I might actually have the motivation to drag myself to class.
Man, this class sucked. What could possibly be more interesting than a class about literature and politics? I'm majoring in both and this was the worst class I took in either. It had potential-- reading politically-oriented works of literature and often watching the accompanying movies. The problem is that, in my opinion, Braverman REALLY doesn't care about the class, so his presentations and discussions are painful. You read some okay stuff, but the lit department has so many great classes that you shouldn't waste your credits on this one.
Braverman is definitely not one of those professors a student can be decisive about. He's not terrible, but I'm not quite sure how good he is, either. He most definitely knows his stuff; the man is brilliant. He doesn't always communicate all that brilliance to the students, however. I always had this feeling when class ended that I'd been yanked away from a good movie right before the climax. In other words, just when I felt we were getting to one of his original and insightful ideas, he'd veer off into something trite and end class. But the books he chooses are great to read; he also discusses a lot on the development of genres and fuses pop culture ideas with the more conventional.
Okay, so the other reviewers aren't so keen on Prof. Braverman. Yes, he does have a almost too lax attitude in class, but when it comes down to it...he teaches the historical background, genre characterisitcs, and modern criticism of the works clearly. The works he puts on the syllabus are really diverse and interesting. We read everything from Shakespeare to Frankenstein to Wordsworth. I thought his class was very worthwhile.
Professor Braverman is a nice enough guy, but it seems pretty obvious that he doesn't have much interest in teaching this course. He always arrived late for class, then engaged in several minutes of "small talk" before talking about anything relevant. Beyond that, the class discussions were generally dull and unfocused, and Braverman's contributions (usually large, since only half the class showed up on a regular basis, and even they didn't want to talk) are not particularly enlightening. Braverman is an easy instructor for Intro to the Major, but you probably won't learn much from him.
Really great guy, who really seems to know his stuff. If you don't believe me, look up his Ph.D. dissertation online. Problem is: his immense store of knowledge and agreeable personality don't always add up to an interesting class session. He seems to often be unable to get discussion moving and also has trouble making the material terrible interesting. He's a considerate grader, though not easy, and will teach you something, but drink some coffee before class.