I really enjoyed Martin Eisner's class. Aside from being very intelligent, as well as a nice guy, his knowledge of the material was inpiring. His classes were a good mix of guided discussion and lecture. This class holds students to a higher standard - he treats you like an adult and expects you to work hard in his class. My friends and I found ourselves working late, happily so, not wanting to let Martin down. Martin can be brutally honest, but never malicious. A great teacher - if you want the kind of class you supposedly came to Columbia for, this one is for you.
Brilliant. Inspiring. Brutally sarcastic. That's exactly what comes to mind when I hear Professor Eisner's name. Talk about a guy that knows what he is doing. The downside of that, however, is that HE knows it as well. He is not afraid to let you know what he thinks, not just of your writing and comments in general, but also what he thinks of other professors. He knows that he's a good teacher, and tends to remind his students of it through his caustic comments. Eisner will teach you abundantly, and teach you well, but it requires hard work and dedication on the students' part. He assigns a million essays and books that aren't on the required reading list (on top of the required, of course). The three essays assigned are short but must be incredibly in-depth (and believe me, you can't bulls**t this guy). In short, if you are expecting an easy A, run. Run fast (especially if you are an athlete- doesn't take too kindly on them). Don't get me wrong. The guy can be funny. And like I said, he's a great teacher... you'll actually learn to read a text closely. You'll be lucky to have him. Sort of.
Eisner is an incredibly intelligent teacher, and his classes are both insightful and stimulating. However, steer clear from this class: opt instead for one in which the teacher manages both to do an excellent job with the material and to stay open, encouraging, amiable and inspiring at the same time. If you do decide to take this class, learn by heart a map of ancient Greece.
This guy is just flat out mean. He won't cut any slack. And if you happen to be an athlete, wow, watch out he doesn't take kindly to them. He is a tough grader. When all your other friends are getting A's and B's you will be getting a C for doing 10 times the amount of work
"Let me tell you a little secret, guys: it's SO obvious when you bulls**t. So obvious! Believe me, it's easy for a teacher to tell when a student has absolutely no clue what he's talking about. So don't try it. Chances are, you're not going to get away with it." If you ever have a class with Martin Eisner, one of the things you will always remember about him is the endless supply of quotable quotes. Another thing you'll remember is the ruthless sarcasm with which he cuts students down to size. He's the only teacher I've ever had who's openly told us that he's written midterms that have made students cry. Or that reading our papers was like seeing a car crash-- "so horrible I couldn't tear my eyes away." He also happens to be the only teacher I know who can inspire students to be totally passionate about the written word ,even after such verbal hailstorms. If you have Martin Eisner as your Lit Hum teacher, be prepared for challenge and hours upon hours of hard work. There's no way you can bullshit around him- believe me, I've tried- and he doesn't compromise. There's lots of extra readings not on the Lit Hum required list. There's in-depth analyses on the Iliad (much harder than it seems...) Sounds unbearable? In a way, it is. You'll break your back in this class. But Prof. Eisner's remarkable ability is that through it all, he manages to make you think-really THINK- and challenges everything you've ever believed about literature. This is someone who really knows his stuff- and is passionate about it in a way that is absolutely contagious, no matter how much we gripe to one another out of class. We walk out of the classroom truly wanting to know more about the importance of the recognition scenes in the Odyssey, the twisting of the homecoming story in Bacchae, the role of women in Medea, Whereas another prof may have been able to teach us through kind words and gentle guidance, Martin Eisner makes us want to learn mainly through his pure enthusiasm. If you don't take sarcasm well, don't take this class. If you're averse to sharp criticism, this guy's not the right teacher for you. But if you can handle being told that your paper just isn't good enough, that you might cry when you see the midterm, that you have to work harder, harder, harder to understand the Iliad...then I highly recommend Prof. Eisner. Expect to learn. Expect to think. Just remember, he always knows when you're bullsh**ting..... and he expects you to know ancient Greek by the time you start Lit Hum.
this guy is harsh. but you'll learn more about literature and reading in general than you ever did your whole life. but if you can't take criticism..... then don't take this class. not for the faint of heart.