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The Pleasures of Reading in an Ideological Age

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  36 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
From one of our premier literary scholars, here is a learned and witty introduction to the “sheer vitality of literature and the satisfactions of a close, informed engagement with it” (New York Times). Robert Alter’s illumination of the unique power of reading literature is especially valuable at a time when we are surrounded by electronic texts that distract more than eng ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 17th 1996 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1989)
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May 20, 2009 James rated it really liked it
Shelves: lit-theory
When I review a book I try to make explicit any personal connections to the work or my reading experience. However, I also engage in formal Literary criticism. By this I mean the evaluation, analysis, description, or interpretation of a literary work. My short essays are thus a mix of both formal criticism and my personal reaction to the book. Sometimes the personal aspect is minimal or non-existent. I always try to make it clear. That there are other readings of a literary text is certainly tru ...more
Jan 21, 2016 Mckinley rated it liked it
"Reading is a privileged pleasure because each of us enjoys it, quite complexly, in ways not replicable by anyone else. But there is enough structured common ground in the text itself so that we can talk to each other, even persuade each other, about what we read... one of the most gratifying responses to literary creation, second only to reading itself."
Jan 09, 2012 Steve rated it it was amazing
This is indeed a clear and perceptive explanation of the process of literary reading, maintaining the integrity of texts. His chapters on style, allusion and so one are fuly illustrated and encourage reflective reading. Refreshingly, Alter happily uses OT stories and texts to make his points, just as much as those of classic authors.
Dec 14, 2010 Toby rated it it was ok
Shelves: criticism
Although I agree with Alter's viewpoint, I found the book very dry and uninspiring. Not really much new here.
Luther Obrock
Oct 10, 2010 Luther Obrock rated it liked it
The chapters on style, etc. are marvelous. The rhetoric of the opening polemic a little overblown.
Mr M
Dec 16, 2008 Mr M is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Of all the literary pedants, Alter is by far the best prose stylist.
Oct 25, 2012 Charlie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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Robert Bernard Alter (b. 1935) was awarded the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Lifetime Achievement and the PEN Center Literary Award for Translation. He is the Class of 1937 Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley, and has published many acclaimed works on the Bible, literary modernism, and contemporary Hebrew literature.
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