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Makdisi is a little too into Romantic poetry for my taste, and he's especially obsessed with William Blake. I have friends that took 10B with a different professor, and their readings had more variation. But overall this wasn't a bad class, he's a thorough lecturer and the final wasn't too hard.
I really, really liked how Professor Makdisi revamped English 10B. He is a brilliant, articulate man, and his lectures were really interesting, too. Some people I know complained about him being really boring (I admit, I fell asleep a couple of times), but really, his lectures are very rich and interesting. They're interesting, because he emphasizes the historical and biographical context of all the works, which is so great, because certain nuances of the text make so much more sense. He is a very approachable professor, and he really, truly wants his students to succeed. He is very encouraging and positive, especially at the final exam. I honestly can't think of anything to criticize him.
The class had 2 papers, and if you improve on the second one, he gives discretion to the TAs to either completely replace the first paper grade with the better second one, or balance it a little more in favor of the better grade - very generous. Although the final exam did take me the full hours, it wasn't that bad. It's just 5 passages where you have to ID and close read them. And then 5 mini essay questions that make you choose and briefly compare and contrast 2 pieces of work (you choose whichever ones you want). All in all, it was a very enjoyable class and I got a lot out of it. However, I did also work VERY hard (do all the readings!), and make sure you get Taylor Walle, because she improved my writing SO MUCH! She is an amazing TA who is so organized and is so clear in her feedback that you know exactly what to work on.
Took him for English 10B and I liked him so much that I am taking another class with him, 163A. I would highly recommend Professor Makdisi because he is organized, articulate, straightforward, and a very nice man. His powerpoint presentations are filled with graphics so that lecture is made more interesting. Yes, the final was very tedious to study for but he tells you exactly how to prepare and you know exactly what to study. I didn't feel that the final was especially tedious, especially since many of the works were interesting. Also, Makdisi takes student comments and/or criticisms into consideration, and because many students complained about not having a midterm, he introduced a midterm for English 163A. It's a pleasure taking a class with this man and I would recommend him to any English major.
Great Professor. Fair Final. Yes, there is a lot of reading, but then again if you are an English major/minor aren't you suppose to like it? Anyhow, the quotes are not obscure by any means the quote mentioned in the previous post came from Alexander Post "Essay on Man" the last few lines. He went over them, very important and again obvious. He does spend a lot of time with Blake (he has in fact written a book about him), but they are too easy to identify and not fair to the people who actually read.
I think the problem was the final: two of the passages on there were very difficult to identify. The positive reviews are correct in saying that he's a nice human being, etc., etc., but there is no arguing over that test. I studied with a group of 4 girls for a week. We met twice and spent a total of 14 hours reviewing together plus additional time studying by myself. For the life of me, I do not know why there was no Blake when we read 9 of his pieces. I also don't know why Pope was on there when we read one thing in section, not even class, of his. OVERALL: if you have to take 10B, it's not so bad to take it with him because he really is a pleasant person and his lectures are very organized and thorough. But for the test, unfortunately, I do't know what to say or give as advice to study.
And to reply to the positive post below which deems that all who are complaining did not read: I read everything twice, studied, and got an A- in the class. I'm not happy with him because I deserved the A which I worked SO HARD FOR. I felt hopeless because I gave it my all and spent so much time on this class and still couldn't manage an A.
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
YES, all the questions on the final were about the texts we were assigned to read. WE WERE ASSIGNED TO READ SIXTY-THREE (63) TEXTS. SO! If you read all those 63 texts and REMEMBERED them, then yes, the final was easy. IF, you listened to him when he said that only prominent, well discussed texts will be on the test (btw, we had to identify quotations and give author, title and analysis for 1/2 of the test) then you would be screwed. Two of the poems he had on there, from Pope and Gray, he went over for maybe 2-10 minutes while he assigned like 9 Blake readings and had not one on there. The readings I had pages upon pages of notes for were not there.
For the second (1/2) of the course, he said he would ask for short essays on the themes of the period. HE NEVER SAID HE WOULD COMBINE THEMES! I wrote 3X practice essays on each theme. I never expected to be putting themes together (btw, you had to give two text examples per theme from early and late period).
YES... EASY TEST. NO, NOT EASY TO PREPARE FOR. I, AS A BUSY Lit. UNDERGRAD, COULD NOT FOR THE LIFE OF ME REMEMBER ALL 63 TEXTS SO I COULD IDENTIFY SOME ON THE TEST. I REMEMBERED THE ONES HE WENT OVER THE MOST AND THAT DIDN'T HELP ME MUCH.
Contrary to the negative posts which you should only take as anomalies, not as the trend, Makdisi was a wonderful professor to take for an otherwise difficult, notoriously unapproachable course. Even so, I think that 10B was a relatively English course considering how the final was just 1 page of questions you had the liberty to answer with whatever supported interpretation you want. In fact, he advocated that - there was pretty much no right or wrong answer but when it came to the quotes, you had to know your stuff. Some thought they were unfair but I spotted them out right away only because I studied the quotes he referred to in class. In that case then there shouldn't be anything to complain about. He demonstrates a clear preference for the Romantic portion of the class, which in my opinion, makes things easier since that's the half more of the students could appreciate. It might seem like a lot of work, but whereas in English upperdivision courses you have to haul through novels, most of these are poems or short works. Minus Jane Austen ... which, really, the only frustrating thing I could say I encountered in this class was that I spent a good few days reading the novel which was assigned 10th week (to get it out the way so I wouldn't be reading during Finals) .......... it wasn't covered at all in the final.
Overall, awesome professor. No regrets taking him.
He can be deceptively proficient. He’s got a pet author he splurges a great deal about every week but when it came to the final, hardly any of the questions touched on it. He’s speaks with a soft, innocent voice, but Rambos you with a spectrum of 60 assigned texts. His lectures are well organized and fairly well communicated through video and audio clips and a Power Point presentation every class, yet he spent merely half the last day’s lecture to cover the final. He issued not a single quiz nor midterm. Half of your grade lied in assigned essays, the other half sank solely in the final. Even the best of the best students in the class were clueless when it came to the final. Absent of issuing any study guides or accurate examples for the test, I asked him for suggestions to narrow my study platter. His response: “Anything I covered in lecture is fair game.” This would be nice if he actually kept to his word.
Great Professor. Knowledgeable, engaging, passionate. Puts 45% of grade on final- but final is manageable and he introduces exactly what will be on the test. Good deal of reading, but he makes the material interesting when it could otherwise be very dull.
The general opinions on this page are true. He is polite, soft spoken, interested, intelligent, etc. He cares about the material and about his class: he pauses and asks for questions and answers emails right away. Considering the loads of reading for this class, as for any of the 10-series ENGL classes, he made it seem like a breeze. His organization was very awkward: he deemed each weak a new topic like "humanity or love". I think the greatest problem with the class is grading: we have two papers and a final. THAT'S IT! The final is worth 45% (!!) of your grade! With no midterm, we are freaking out about his testing style. I think it would be beneficial to have a midterm or for him to be extremely specific of what we should study. The topics, themes, authors and literary works vary so much and the fact that we cover two different time periods all add to a bloody hell awaiting to be unleashed. ...