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Robert Alter teaches courses on the 19th-century European and American novel, on modernism, and on literary aspects of the Bible, and he also teaches and writes on modern Hebrew literature. His publications range from critical biography (Stendhal) to literary theory (The Pleasures of Reading in an Ideological Age) to two recent volumes of Bible translation accompanied by literary commentary —The Book of Psalms, and The Wisdom Books (Ph.D., Harvard University). Professor Alter’s two most recent books are Imagined Cities (Yale, 2005) and Psalms: A Translation with Commentary (Norton, 2007). His new book, Pen of Iron: American Prose and the King James Bible, was published by Princeton University Press, February 2010.
In 2009, he received the Robert Kirsch Award from the Los Angeles Times for lifetime contribution to American letters.