Marina is/was totally awesome and rules.
She is very British, but this does not mean that she is uptight or anything. In fact, she is incredibly down-to-Earth and willing to talk about any topic or idea a person has in class. She is not afraid to reference bad movies in class (see: the Cagey classic Face/Off when talking about The Odyssey), and you will not feel intimidated by her mannerisms in any way.
She maintains control of the class not by dressing in suits or lecturing extensively (although most classes have an extreeeemely helpful 20-minute history/background she leads, which would have been more helpful before we read the book), but by being ridiculously knowledgable. She is scary smart. I think she mentioned once that she spent her graduate years at Oxford toiling around reading obscure theology. If someone is discussing theology, philosophy, or literature as a whole, Marina will respond and develop the ideas.
The format of the class is all discussion, and Marina does a pretty good job facilitating. While our talks were somewhat dominated by one or two folks, she recognized this and tried to encourage other people to contribute as well (and loved when they did).
Marina basically made lit hum what I wanted it to be when I came to Columbia. I wanted to come to class (at 9 AM!!) every day, and never missed one.
To end I'll leave some Marina quotes.
"Today, we're going to talk about dildos. That's right, dildos. And you can't escape it." (As we walked into class for the Lysistrata)
"His crazy-ass nutso awesomeness was pretty interesting" (In regards to William Blake)
"If you don't like people, you won't have friends, and maybe will blow up a federal building." (In regards to who knows what).
I didn't write every one of them down, but there's usually one or two quotes every day during class that will make you laugh.