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Finding a Form: Essays.

Literary Essays] Gass, William.

279 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0679446621 / ISBN 13: 9780679446620
Published by Knopf, New York, 1996
From Gregor Rare Books (Langley, WA, U.S.A.)

AbeBooks Seller Since 26 April 1997

Quantity Available: 1

About this Item

A Near Fine unread copy with a small remainder dot to the top edge in a Fine bright unclipped dust jacket. In this collection of essays, William Gass writes about literary language, about history, about the avant-garde, about minimalism's brief vogue, about the use of the present tense in fiction (Is it due to the lack of both a sense of history and a belief in the future?), about biography as a form, about exile - spiritual and geographical - and he examines the relationship of the writer's life to the writer's work. Gass writes with wit and intelligence as he sifts through cultural issues of our time and contemplates how written language, whether a sentence or an entire book, is a container of consciousness, the gateway to another's mind that we enter for a while and make our own. Bookseller Inventory # 24007

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Finding a Form: Essays.

Publisher: Knopf, New York

Publication Date: 1996

Edition: First Printing of the First US Edition

About this title


From the author of The Tunnel comes a new collection of essays, his first in eight years, on art, writing, nature and culture. This book is by one of the most important and briliant thinkers at work today.

From Kirkus Reviews:

These 19 essays showcase precision intellectual workmanship, displaying intricate, multifaceted models of how writing and thinking relate to life. Gass won the 1985 National Book Award for a previous essay collection, Habitations of the Word; most recently he authored an ingenious, gigantic novel, The Tunnel (1995). The essays reprinted here belong to a variety of genres, but all centrally consider how writing enters into the world--how writers find forms adequate for their thoughts. In an opening section Gass takes on several institutions that in his opinion mark today's writing with mediocrity; he dissects the disgraceful track record of the Pulitzer Prize for literature and the inadequacies of the minimalist prose style that emenates from academic fiction-writing programs. His main focus, however, is on conjunctions of writing with philosophy and experience. Gass offers appreciations of favorite modern authors whose works and lives are rich in philosophical meditiation, such as Robert Walser and Danilo Kis; biographical review essays treating the relationship of life to work for Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, and Ezra Pound; and digests of intellectual history burdened with such portentous titles as ``Nature, Culture, and Cosmos.'' These latter can suffer from showboating and cutefying. Such faults crop up occasionally even in the best essays here. Gass's postmodern idiom at times leads him to facile would-be cleverness--informing us with regard to Nietzsche, for instance, that ``of course, the superman doesn't sport blue underwear.'' At his best, however, when Gass puts his philosophical bent at the service of his literary gifts, singular insights emerge. This volume's finest essays shed new light on the workings of prose style--on ``the music of prose''--in cases ranging from a lively piece of Middle English sermonizing to the impressionism of Ford Madox Ford. Gass shines when he addresses the subject most befitting a self-described ``Methodologist,'' one ``for whom the medium is the muse''--his own prose medium itself. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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