Ordinary Human Language

by Brian Crane

Pen of Iron

I started Pen of Iron: American Prose and the King James Bible by Robert Alter with high expectations, and the introduction and first chapter on Melville are quite good. The later chapters on Faulkner and Dreiser left me cold though. Whatever else might be going on, this reading is based on Alter’s ear for Biblical diction, rhythm, and etc, and at a certain point, the subtlety of his subject became an obstacle for me. I trust his ear, but I can only go a certain way beyond what I can hear on my own no matter how much I’d like to follow. My sparse card file is here.

Posted October 5, 2011