ESP Biography

SAMANTHA BERSTLER, Harvard senior studying English literature

Major: English

College/Employer: Harvard University

Year of Graduation: 2014

Picture of Samantha Berstler

Brief Biographical Sketch:

I've studied English literature at Harvard and Oxford and specialize in the early Medieval period.

I teach through MIT and Harvard HSSP and MIT ESPrinkler. At Harvard, I've taught Hamlet (Fall 2011) and co-taught Big Ideas in Philosophy (Fall 2011 and 2013). My past MIT courses are listed below.

Past Classes

  (Clicking a class title will bring you to the course's section of the corresponding course catalog)

H5671: Advents: An Introduction to Reading and Writing English-Language Poetry in HSSP Spring 2012 (Feb. 18, 2012)
"A poem conveys not a message so much as the provenance of a message, an advent of sense." --Thomas Harrison This class is designed as a crash course survey of the major landmarks in British poetry mish-moshed together with an introduction to the college-style workshop. In other words, we'll spend half our time reading poetry and half our time writing poetry. No experience in writing poetry is necessary, and I will tailor the readings to the interests of the class. As of now, authors include the Anglo-Saxon elegiac poets, Shakespeare, Marlowe, Donne, Keats, Shelley, Byron, Sassoon, Owen, and Eliot. Why take this class? It is good enrichment for higher level English classes, the SAT I and II, and the English AP exam; some of the authors we will read are heavily featured on the English AP. Additionally, the skill set required for writing poetry can immensely improve one's expository prose skills. Finally and most importantly, the class is going to be awesome.

H4833: The Logic Police: What Are Fallacies and How Can You Spot Them? in ESPrinkler Summer 2011 (Jul. 10 - Aug. 21, 2011)
A fallacy is an error in reasoning or logic. Fallacies allow us to build a case for our argument based on trickery like emotions or hasty generalizations. It's important to know them, avoid them, and know how not to be fooled by them. Unfortunately some fallacies are so commonplace that we often don't even notice them. In this class, we're going to discuss the most common types of fallacies and look at examples of how they're used and abused in politics, essays, debates, and everyday conversations.

H4841: How to Read a Love Poem (The Not-Sappy Kind) in ESPrinkler Summer 2011 (Jul. 10 - Aug. 21, 2011)
In this class we'll read and analyze some of the most famous love poems ever written. We'll learn what makes a good poem good (and a bad poem bad!) by looking at a few key literary strategies and how writers employ them.