Tag: Robert Alter

April 20, 2012  |  No Comments

Biographer David Minter relays a fitting anecdote about Faulkner in Oxford, Mississippi, when Faulkner was less than ten years old. Young William and his grandmother, who he called “Damuddy,” liked to build “miniature villages in the family’s front yard,” Minter writes, “using sticks, grass, stones, and glass.” As an adult, Faulkner carried on building imaginary … Read More

January 4, 2012  |  No Comments

2011 marked the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible, and it remains the finest English translation there is. “No other book has given more to the English-speaking world,” writes Adam Nicolson in the December 2011 issue of National Geographic. Robert Alter’s latest book, Pen of Iron: American Prose and the King … Read More

September 16, 2011  |  No Comments

“Ever since Gutenberg,” Robert Alter writes, “the conditions of mechanical reproduction made it necessary for the individual artist to swim against a vast floodtide of trash out of all proportion to anything that had existed before in cultural history….”  And when the furnace of time has digested the trash-heap of twentieth-century literary criticism, one hopes … Read More

May 6, 2011  |  No Comments

A.D. Nuttall is a god damn genius.  As of May 6, 2011, I am his only Goodreads “fan” (as well as the only “fan” of supreme literary critic Robert Alter) and that’s a testament both to the meaninglessness of literary fandom and to the intellectually backwards times we live in.  But at least this Nuttall … Read More

April 28, 2011  |  No Comments

I recently returned to Pale Fire after leaving it unfinished over ten years ago.  I returned not least because the sage Robert Alter commended it and quoted from it this brilliant passage on mirrors:

He awoke to find her standing with a comb in her hand before his–or rather, his grandfather’s–cheval glass, a triptych of bottomless … Read More

February 5, 2010  |  No Comments

Harold Bloom says that Freud learned all his psychology from Shakespeare. Would it be radical to suggest that Shakespeare learned half of his psychology from the Romans and the other half from the Hebrew Bible?

Robert Alter says of the Bible’s authors, “[T]he Hebrew writers manifestly took delight in the artful limning of … lifelike characters … Read More