English Literature to 1660

Matthew Fisher

English Literature to 1660

English department

Matthew Fisher

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from 19 users

Ratings

Bad
Overall 3.5
Good
Hard
Easiness of class 1.7
Easy
Heavy
Workload 2.1
Light
Not Clear
Clarity of professor 3.5
Clear
Not Helpful
Helpfulness of professor 3.3
Helpful
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Tags

  • Needs Textbook
  • Engaging Lectures
  • Useful Textbooks
  • Snazzy Dresser
  • Often Funny
  • Tough Tests

Grades

Fall 2018
23.4%
19.5%
15.6%
11.7%
7.8%
3.9%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Summer 2016
23.8%
19.8%
15.9%
11.9%
7.9%
4.0%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Fall 2016
29.2%
24.4%
19.5%
14.6%
9.7%
4.9%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Summer 2014
19.4%
16.1%
12.9%
9.7%
6.5%
3.2%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

Fall 2013
17.9%
14.9%
11.9%
8.9%
6.0%
3.0%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

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1 of 2

Reviews

Quarter Taken: Winter 2017 Submitted Dec. 17, 2019 Grade Received: A-

Matthew Fisher is hands down the worst professor I have ever had. He seems incredibly arrogant and does not care at all about how engaged his students are. The guy seems to have a huge ego and really seems to feed off of these freshman/sophomore girls fangirling off of him. Honestly, this class is pretty easy, so it's not hard to pass/get an A, but it's really not worth the amount that you are disregarded as a student. I can't believe a professor this young has ascended to arrogance + apathy this quickly but was very disappointed by his treatment of this class. I get that no one /really/ wants to be teaching 10A, but I still think students deserve respect. This was a real bummer because I was actually really excited about this material.

I hope that Matthew Fisher can continue to grow as a professor, but as he is now, you will not feel like you have gained anything/been treated as a serious student by the end of this class.

Quarter Taken: Fall 2016 Submitted Dec. 30, 2016 Grade Received: A-

The course consists of two prompt-free essays, a Middle English translation quiz, participation in section, the final, and a "gallery project" (which was new to this quarter). The gallery project was a huge pain in the butt for three reasons: there wasn't a lot of direction so we didn't really know what was expected of us, he kept admonishing us to "have fun with it!", and because we were working on this post-thanksgiving and pre-finals -- while reading Paradise Lost. Tip: get a serious head start on PL during earlier weeks (yeah, I know) so you don't end up reading Milton for 4 hours the night before the final.

The final was not nearly as bad as I expected. It was three parts: ID, explication, and long essay. For the ID section, Fisher gave us 10 quotes, we had to write on 6 of them: title, author, original language, date written, and importance of the quote. They were from pretty obvious works and I easily recognized 9 of them. No sweat. The explication essay was straightforward too; we were presented with a poem and performed a close reading. The long essay afforded the most room for creativity. There were two open-ended prompts, we picked one, and answered it using three texts. Fisher required that Paradise Lost be one of those three. Both prompts were interesting, fit well with many of the texts we'd read, and I actually had a lot of fun writing this essay.

My advice for this class is to complete the readings *before* lecture. If you do this, you'll be able to more easily sift through his summary and take pointed notes on theme and meaning. While reviewing for the final, I realized that on days when I had followed my own advice, my notes were much more helpful than otherwise. Fisher spends a good portion of lecture giving historical background -- this is all useless. It helps to contextualize the readings and place them along a timeline, but it is unnecessary to know for the final or the essays. Pay a bit of attention to this - especially as it relates to framing the themes of works and common motifs - but don't bother writing taking notes on the English Civil War.

This may seem like a small thing, but it ended up really bugging me by the end of the quarter. Fisher consistently lectured for longer than the allotted 50 minutes -- never more than five minutes, but long enough that it made getting to my next class difficult.

Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted March 31, 2012 Grade Received: N/A

I agree that Professor Fisher seems pretentious at first, but over time you realize he uses big words like "ventriloquize" and "polysemy" and "postlapsarian" not because he's trying to rub his Oxford education in your face, but because he just talks like that. He is naturally brilliant, but not aloof or conceited. In some ways, he seems like a young nerd yearning for social approval, especially when he tries to crack jokes and banters with students before and after class about non-academic matters. His tendency to clutch his coffee for the entire lecture without drinking it seems to be a nervous habit and made him even more adorable to me. Also, he's a hopeless romantic: he told us about how he talked to his wife for the entire night when the power went out, and he was always going on about the simultaneously terrifying and amazing moment of saying "I love you" for the first time. Anyways, before I create the impression that I have a crush on Fisher, back to his teaching:

He had a tendency to ask a series of really big, sweeping questions about the texts like: "What is a king? What does it mean to be human? What is a 'true' song? What does it mean to be an angry horse?" I'm not kidding about that last one. I found these sort of annoying, especially because he expected very focused questions for the weekly reading responses. Speaking of these, they feel like a hassle, but if you really spend time on a couple, they can easily develop into your paper topics (both of my papers came out of reading responses).

WARNING: The midterm is easy. The final is not. Do not become complacent after Week 5 if you did well both on paper 1 and the midterm, because the second half of the quarter has WAY more reading. Keep up, or else you'll have to cram three plays, countless sonnets, some dense prose, and the terrifying Paradise Lost into your brain a week before the final— not possible, and I learned this the hard way when I got to the essay and had nothing to say about Milton...

For your papers, go to office hours. I never went to Fisher, because my TA, Megan Smith, was awesome and gave me great direction. I actually enjoyed writing my papers, because Fisher allows you to choose your own topic.

Overall, 10A is a decent introductory English course, but it seems ridiculous that Middle English, Donne, Milton, and other very daunting texts begin the undergrad's English career at UCLA. Fisher was frustrated with us sometimes for our reticence in class, but honestly, I didn't feel comfortable talking about texts that I barely understood the plot of after a cursory homework reading. For my essays, I read my chosen texts at least four times to get to a good level of analysis. I still learned a lot from Fisher and Megan, though, and feel confident going into 10B.

Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted March 17, 2012 Grade Received: N/A

I thought Fisher was great! He came off a bit pretentious and I didn't like him at first, but somehow he won me over throughout the course. He has a way of making ancient themes very relatable. He definitely cares about student learning and wants to be liked by the students, so if you sit in the front he's likely to talk to you. I recommend speaking up in class because he loves questions and often got frustrated by my taciturn class. That said, this class was frustrating because of my horrible TA. If you can, get Megan as a TA. I would have been much happier with the course if I had a different TA or if Fisher himself was doing the grading.

Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted Dec. 31, 2010 Grade Received: N/A

Fisher is one of the most entertaining and engaging professors I've had at UCLA. He has the miraculous ability to take texts that might initially seem too convoluted or bland/straight-forward and extract really interesting, broad themes, which he makes applicable and relatable through occasional anecdotes and brief history lessons. Certainly, he lectures fairly rapidly, and for some texts, he throws out a string of quotes and only fragments of analysis, which you then have to construct into a coherent opinion on the text, but that exactly what an English lecturer should do. His grading is fair — the midterm is passage ID & analysis, with extra credit, and the final only covers the second half of the quarter (but is an hour of quote ID, an hour of poetry explication, and an hour of essay writing on one of the theses he supplies on the final). There are also two take-home essays. The texts are all fairly interesting (or usually are after hearing his thoughts). He is definitely pretentious, which some might find annoying, but I think it just added to the entertainment value of the lectures.

Also, yes, he does carry around his coffee religiously (yet never actually drinks out of it), but so what? Again, it's mildly entertaining, but you don't focus on it because the ideas coming out of his mouth are so intriguing.

Quarter Taken: Fall 2018 Submitted Jan. 10, 2019 Grade Received: B+

Right off the bat, I have to say that Fisher is a very harsh grader. My TA gave me As or A-s for all my assignments, including the first essay, "gallery assignment" (which is basically choosing and explaining a series of images), and final, but because Fisher graded my second paper and gave it a C, my final grade in the class became a B+.

That said, he's a very enigmatic and very intelligent professor. His lectures aren't boring even though he does go off on tangents at times, you learn a lot. I cannot stress enough that going to class is essential. Everything in the final exam requires that you understand what Fisher has said about the readings.

Quarter Taken: Fall 2018 Submitted Jan. 10, 2019 Grade Received: A

His hair looks like a bird's nest, he is as beautiful as he is enigmatic, and I will forever remember the profound wisdoms with which he has left me, both those quantified in mere mortal English and those that transcend any spoken language.

Quarter Taken: Fall 2018 Submitted Dec. 25, 2018 Grade Received: A

This class had drastically improved my critical reading and writing skills. All feedback I recieved on my essays were very helpful (and it was cool to learn that all the TAs and the professor grade essays together; they're able to establish a standardized criteria or A papers, B papers, etc...). In regards to the class readings, they can really get away from you if you're not disciplined. Try your best to stay on top of readings. But if you don't finish an assigned set before lecture, that's okay; make sure to finish it eventually, though. There's also an online gallery project that's super fun. Start it early if you can, trying to finish it the day that it's do is not. Fun. Other than that I really enjoyed this class, Professor Fisher says at least 4-5 iconic quotes a lecture. It's great.

Quarter Taken: Fall 2018 Submitted Dec. 13, 2018 Grade Received: A-

I could not speak of Professor Fisher more highly. He is by far the best professor I have ever had at UCLA. He is passionate about what he teaches, and his lectures are engaging and charismatic. He has a deep understanding of the texts he teaches, and presents fascinating and nuanced ideas about the texts in each lecture. The workload and reading is very reasonable. My only complaint would be that if he does grade one of your papers, instead of your TA, he is an extremely harsh grader. Other than that, I recommend him to the highest degree.

Quarter Taken: Fall 2018 Submitted Nov. 22, 2018 Grade Received: I

"Men have breasts" — Professor Fisher

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Tags

  • Needs Textbook
  • Engaging Lectures
  • Useful Textbooks
  • Snazzy Dresser
  • Often Funny
  • Tough Tests
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