A New Year of Reading

It started, this new year and decade, my reading that is, with the felicitious serendipity that always characterises my Sunday-amateurish reading. Dipping into Steven Moore’s The Novel: An Alternative History 1600-1800, which I haven’t read, but tasting its acerbic opinion thought it may be a good place to begin the year.

Sampling Primo Levi’s favourite texts in The Search for Roots, led swiftly to Robert Alter’s commentary and translation of Job, which holds the right of primogeniture in Levi’s anthology. It’s been my intention to read the Bible, as literature, more deeply, so I start the year with Job.

Characteristically though there are other texts clamouring for attention: Papini’s Dante (translated by Eleanor Hammond Broadus and Anna Benedetti), J. B. Leishman’s translation of the Duino Elegies.

As always I am curious to see where the year leads and determined, as Levi puts it, ‘to undermine’ my reading patterns and tastes: ‘a woodworm can find new timbers, or new sap in old wood’. Suggestions and ideas always welcome!

Happy new year to all who read my blog.

6 thoughts on “A New Year of Reading

  1. I think the intention to read the Bible is such a good one, given that it is the foundation of so much literature. In high school we read the gospels from a literary perspective. As an adult, I have read the entire New Testament multiple times with various commentaries, and I have read the psalter many times. I have read most of the Old Testament with the exception of a few of the prophetical books (Job being one I have not read in full). I own several versions and translations of the Bible (including one with the Septuagint). I have not read Alter’s translation, but I think it really helps to have commentaries (which I know Alter provides) so a person can understand the historical and literary perspective of the different books. I look forward to hearing about your impressions as you move forward.

    I am tempted to reread the Divine Comedy this year, but I want to focus on Paradise Lost as my big poetical project because that is a gap of mine.

    Happy New Year and happy reading.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Happy new year!

      Paradise Lost, in its entirety, is one of my literary voids. I know from the little I’ve read that it is marvellous, but sometimes unexplored territories hold so much promise. Every year I vow to read Paradise Lost.


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