Speaker Profile Prof Robert Alter

Robert Alter is Professor of the Graduate School and Emeritus Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of California at Berkeley, where he has taught since 1967. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the Council of Scholars of the Library of Congress, and is past president of the Association of Literary Scholars and Critics. He has twice been a Guggenheim Fellow, has been a Senior Fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities, a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Jerusalem, and Old Dominion Fellow at Princeton University. He has written widely on the European novel from the eighteenth century to the present, on American fiction, and on modern Hebrew literature. He has also written extensively on literary aspects of the Bible. His twenty-eight published books include two prize-winning volumes on biblical narrative and poetry and award-winning translations of Genesis and of the Five Books of Moses. He has devoted book-length studies to Fielding, Stendhal, Nabokov, and the self-reflexive tradition in the novel. Books by him have been translated into ten different languages. Among his publications over the past thirty years are Necessary Angels: Tradition and Modernity in Kafka, Benjamin, and Scholem (1991), Imagined Cities (2005), Pen of Iron: American Prose and the King James Bible (2010),The Art of Bible Translation (2019), and Nabokov and the Real World 2021). His completed translation of the Hebrew Bible with a commentary was published in 2018 in a three-volume set. In September 2023 his biography of Amos Oz will appear. In 2009 he received the Robert Kirsch Award from the Los Angeles Times for lifetime contribution to American letters and in 2013 the Charles Homer Haskins Prize for career achievement from the American Council of Learned Societies. In 2019 the America Academy of Arts and Letters conferred on him an award for literature.  He has been given honorary degrees by Yale, Northwestern, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and three other institutions.

Speaker's Resources

Jun 1, 2023