Robert Alter is one of those academic stars who should be more of a star. Maybe he’s not more famous than he is because his brand of criticism is formalist and less ideologically driven than some others. I prefer the formalist approach myself because it sees literature as an encyclopedia of technique and structure. I have come to care less about what a book I admire means than how it’s constructed. Alter also opened up the Bible to me in ways I found comprehensible and fascinating. Along with Frank Kermode, he edited The Literary Guide to the Bible, which is my Bible bible. Here’s a lecture on literary repetition; you get a taste of his mind. (Be patient, the video takes a few seconds to get going, and the first person to appear is the man giving the introduction, not Alter himself.)
What about Northrop Frye’s The Great Code: the Bible and Literature?
Debra, Not sure what you mean? The Great Code is a terrific book. Of course. I wasn’t offering a comprehensive list.