Conversation: The Most Gratifying Response to Literary Creation

alex atkins bookshelf literature“Reading is a privileged pleasure because each of us enjoys it, quite complexly, in ways not replicable by anyone else. But there is enough structural common ground in the text itself so that we can talk to each other, even sometimes persuade each other, about what we read: and that many-voiced conversation, with which, thankfully, we shall never have done, is one of the most gratifying responses to literary creation, second only to reading itself.”

From The Pleasures of Reading in an Ideological Age (1989) by Robert Alter. Alter is a professor of Hebrew and comparative literature at U.C. Berkeley. Alter is a world-renown scholar of the Hebrew Bible, having published 23 books, including many critically-acclaimed translations, including The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary (2018) and The Five Books of Moses: A Translation with Commentary (2004). His work, The Art of Biblical Narrative won the National Jewish Book Award for Jewish Thought in 2009. Another popular work is The Literary Guide to the Bible (1987) that is frequently assigned in college literature courses.

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