Fall 2023 - Shocked by the reviews. I had an awful experience in this course. Prepare for weekly quizzes, lots of work, lack of communication and a lack of organization. I felt good taking this class based off of the reviews, however after completing this course I’m utterly shocked by these reviews.
Winter 2022 - Dickey is a sweetheart who really cares about his class. You can feel his passion in every lecture. The midterm was easy but the final was hard. The essay you get from day one so you have time to start early and can't be mad when the due date comes around in like week 8. The class didn't teach me how to write poetry like I wanted but it did grow my appreciation for the art.
Winter 2023 - Dickey is easily the best professor I've had at UCLA yet. His lectures were so fascinating and you really got the feeling that he wanted to know what we thought in discussions. As long as you review the readings beforehand the midterm/final are completely manageable. I would recommend this class to anyone.
Professor Dickey was a great teacher! Class discussions were wonderful. My TA was AWESOME! Get Conor O'Sullivan if you can. The midterm was reasonable. There is a scansion part and an essay writing portion. The final was more difficult, as it was 66% essay writing. All in all, a very rewarding class and a fun experience.
Professor Dickey is very knowledgeable and I definitely enjoyed that he made the class very interactive. Going to class is important since he loves to give out quizzes. I liked that his papers topics were on very short passages, thus forcing students to really close read. The only problem I had was that he didnt' have too much structure with the TAs. I had Holly Moyer and I'm telling you now AVOID HER AT ALL COSTS. She's condescending, takes forever to answer e-mails and is a very harsh grader. She wants graduate level work but doesn't work with her students to achieve this. Other than that, it was a good class and as long as you read the final was pretty simple.
Fall 2022 - Professor Dickey is a sweetheart, but his lectures aren't the most engaging, structured or insightful. There were some really good classes and blackboard notes, but I do wish he had more notes, pointers, resources for each play as it felt like we were rushing through all of them and barely skimming each text. Would say that the class is on the easier side for an English class.
Spring 2022 - Dickey is old-fashioned. No slides, no lecture outline, he just starts talking and jumps from subject to subject within the plays. Lectures are informative but very laid back. He draws really great character diagrams on the chalkboard, will play Elizabethan-era music, and has really good ideas. Early plays is a great course, you learn to enjoy the Shakespearian English, everyone in your class is super smart, and it's a fun time — the group performances especially. The reading is a lot but I liked the quizzes and the final, I thought they were good tests of our knowledge, he's a fair grader as well. My number one recommendation to you is to ask questions during class. The man is a Shakespeare encyclopedia. My most memorable moment in class was when I asked, "How did Shakespeare even come up with this genius plot conflict of a pound-of-flesh bond?" and he replied, "The answer is he didn't." That really blew my mind, and he proceeded on a really interesting tangent about the Italian short stories Shakespeare had read that influenced him and how he took some elements of their plots which make up many of the plot points in the Merchant of Venice. I would have loved more tangents like this from him, he's very clever and very witty. My consensus is Dickey is best for the comedies and Prof. Watson is best for the tragedies. Dickey loves the histories, but not many of the students care for them. I will give the disclaimer that people on Bruinwalk hail him as an extremely engaging lecturer, and that's not what I got in my experience, sometimes class could be boring, but point-blank he's an interesting guy and he's great to learn from. As I said, feel free to ask away about a text or really anything Shakespeare-related, he'll make it informative and a good part of the class. He teaches his special topics on Shakespeare adaptations, which I've heard is very good, I might take that with him as an elective. If you are interested, there's a great resource called, Asimov's Guide to Shakespeare and I think it's fantastic when it comes to the crazy amounts of Greek mythology referenced in Shakespeare's plays. (http://library.lol/main/5A63C986FAB1EC1CB8FBCDFA157CB3AD) — you can get it there if you're interested or borrow it from the Internet Archive (https://archive.org/details/asimovsguidetosh00asim/page/n7/mode/2uphttps://archive.org/details/asimovsguidetosh00asim/page/n7/mode/2up) for some nice analog yellow-colored pages instead of hideous white pdf ones. Finding a text with good footnotes is hard and expensive, I recommend using libgen.is to get the Cliffs full-text version of the play, which has in-line footnotes as opposed to the bottom of the page in cramped print. But some folks really like a paperback so go with what you're comfortable with.