Try to avoid Larsen. She completely controls class discussions. If you express a different opinion, she argues against it with sophistry and then moves on (she's obsessed with having the last word). On essays and exams she expects you to regurgitate the things she said in class. If you don't, you just can't get an A. If you consider yourself or hope to become a free thinker, you will suffer in her class.
I didn't mind Lillians class. I think she came in with some set points that she wanted the class to get to and if things got off her intended track, she would try to redirect it even if the current debate was interesting. Sometimes this was a good thing given that some of these people who have written really negative review are typical Columbia egotistical types who wanted to blab about either Kant, Sartre, or post-modernism. Ugh. The Stranger is a good book, but it came up way too much in my section. As far as Lit Hum goes, I think the grass is always greener in some other section. This wasn't my favorite class, and I'd rant with people every now and then about stuff after class, yet, it was OK. She does give you a creative option for essay writing, which is nice if you like that type stuff. Make sure you don't go overboard on the creativity though. It's not a greenlight for doing whatever you want.
Larsen was one of the worst teachers I've ever had, school or college. I had to drop out of her class after one month because of the amount of harassment I had to endure. She treats the students as if we're in junior high school, and will threaten to cut your attendance grade if you happen to come five minutes late for class and accuse you of being a manipulative liar. Don't get me wrong - she is an intelligent person and does stimulate good discussion on the texts in class, but her pedantic overbearing nature makes it hard to enjoy anything. She also seems to give off the impression that Lit Hum should be our #1 priority in life, which is not what anyone wants a core class to be. If you can show up ahead of time every class without fail and deal with her, you'll enjoy it, otherwise don't bother.
Larsen is not so bad as the other reviewer portrays her. Certainly she is not the best, most thought-provoking Lit Hum instructor. I never felt once that I was really grappling with the material in her class. But often I felt that she provided one or two interesting insights per book that shed light on the work as a whole. She was not a great Lit Hum teacher, but an average one. About 16 students chose to stay in her class for the second semester, reflecting that most students in the class thought she was at worst decent. One other point to make about Larsen is about her choice of optional texts. She included Sappho, Athanasius, and Toni Morrison, reflecting her greater interests. She is interested in early Christianity and in female authors.
I do not recommend Larsen. She is long-winded and stifles real discussion, and what she lectures on is elementary or irrelevant. Additionally, the grading is harsh and arbitrary. My logic and rhetoric professor disagreed with almost all of her written "corrections" on the papers. On papers and exams, write only what Larsen has said in class, even if it seems too basic or simply wrong. Doing this is difficult, however, because her muddled lectures rarely describe what she thinks. Try to avoid Larsen, but if you canÂ’t call the psychic Ms. Cleo and ask her what inane things Larsen wants you to write to get a good grade.