Throughout his career, William Gass relentlessly pushed at the boundaries of language, celebrating the music of the sentence and the aesthetics of the written word. Now, the best and most important of his work is collected in one volume. There are essays on Plato, Hobbes, James, Joyce, Beckett, Stein, Gaddis, Sterne, Ford Madox Ford, Thomas Mann. There are pieces that examine the inner workings of writing. There is his masterful short fiction, from the perfectly crafted novella “In Camera” to the mythical “In the Heart of the Heart of the Country.” And there are excerpts from his novels, including his magnum opus, The Tunnel. Taken together, this collection is a peerless, essential celebration of literature—and an invaluable guide for anyone who wants to understand how great writing works.
About the Author
William H. Gass was born in Fargo, North Dakota. He is the author of seven works of fiction, nine books of essays, and a book of conversations. Gass was a professor of philosophy at Washington University. For most of his life he lived in St. Louis, Missouri, with his wife, the architect Mary Gass. William Gass died in 2017.
“The most dazzling essays and fiction by the most virtuosic prose stylist of our time.” —The Washington Post
“The book is a banquet. . . . Joyous. . . . Superb.” —The Wall Street Journal
“A body of writing that foils generic boundaries. . . . [Gass is] the supreme aesthetician.” —The Times Literary Supplement (London)
“Wonderful. . . . Vividly heartfelt. . . . The beautiful truth is that we need and can count on Gass for how he patiently investigates all forms.” —Bomb
"A monument to Gass’s brilliance as a postmodern fictioneer and a peerless genius of a critic.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“His final offering, The William H. Gass Reader, is a gift. . . . Gass makes us want to read more, and to read better.” —The Millions
“A joy to read. . . . Eloquent, erudite.” —The New York Journal of Books
“A fitting grand finale to an impressive and influential career. . . . Here is the consciousness of a devoted, playful, skeptical intelligence. . . . Literature is finally catching up with him, and this compendious, literary extravaganza should spark a Gass revival.” —Kirkus Reviews