Robert B. Alter

Prof Hebrew & Comparative Literature

Research Areas


Robert Alter (Ph.D., Harvard University) 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.  His two most recent books are Pen of Iron: American Prose and the King James Bible (Princeton, 2010) and Strong As Death Is Love: The Song of Songs, Ruth, Esther, Jonah, Daniel (Norton, 2015).   His translation with commentary of the complete Hebrew Bible has been published by Norton.

In 2009, he received the Robert Kirsch Award from the Los Angeles Times for lifetime contribution to American letters.