During my freshman year of college, the director of my program suggested that we all spend some time reading the King James Bible and absorb its masterful command of cadence, voice and tone. Pretty sound, safe advice–I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t respect the KJV’s beauty. (Its textual integrity is another question entirely, of course.) However, there are plenty of other equally compelling translations of the material, and I consider Robert Alter’s translations of The Five Books of Moses, The Psalms and The David Story (1 and 2 Samuel) chief among them.
Now, Alter has released a book exploring the effects of the King James Bible on the development of American prose, and I can’t wait to pick it up.
Thanks to Alison Lytton, who I’m glad to say still hasn’t completely abandoned print media, for pointing me toward the article and the book.