To the Editor:
Like Edward Alexander [“The Nerve of Ruth Wisse,” May], I too was surprised by Robert Alter’s attack on Ruth R. Wisse in the New Republic, since I would have expected him to be in accord with her views. But having corresponded for many years with two friends—one to the Left of me and one to the Right—I have some understanding of the problem.
When you are trying to present an argument, one phrase perceived as hostile is enough to put the recipient in a defensive mode. Mr. Alter apparently identifies himself as a “liberal,” and once he saw the liberals were to be attacked, any serious consideration of Mrs. Wisse’s ideas was over.
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