Understanding William H. Gass

Univ of South Carolina Press, 2002 - 189 Seiten
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An ambitious novelist made clear and accessible; William H. Gass writes in his essays about the world within the word and the soul inside the sentence, yet readers often find it difficult to get far enough into Gass's words and sentences to find the world or soul they contain. In this guide to the American writer and philosopher's novels, short stories, novellas, and essays, H. L. Hix clarifies the obscurities that have served to limit access to Gass's corpus and explores how the parallels between his fiction and nonfiction illumine their related themes. Hix offers readings of Gass's works, from the early books, Omensetter's Luck and In the Heart of the Heart of the Country, to his later The Tunnel and Cartesian Sonata. Hix identifies the continuous presence of psychological, metaphysical, and ethical themes, including the lingering effect on adults of childhood hurts, the results of being trapped in language, and the consequences of hatred. While agreeing with critics who label Gass's novels and stories metafiction, he contends that to stop the exploration there would be to miss a complete appreciation of the novelist. Hix demonstrates instead how Gass's writings both break

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List of Abbreviations xi
Four Characters in Omensetters Luck
In the Heart of the Heart of the Country
One Theme in Three Essays
Willie Masters Lonesome Wife and On Being Blue
Twenty Questions on The Tunnel 76
Cartesian Sonata 140

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Über den Autor (2002)

H. L. Hix has published poetry, including his prize-winning volumes Rational Numbers and Perfect Hell, and works of criticism, including Spirits Hovering over Ashes: Legacies of Postmodern Theory. He is also the author of an earlier volume in the Understanding Contemporary American Literature series, Understanding W. S. Merwin. The director of the school of liberal arts at the Kansas City Art Institute, Hix lives in Lansing, Kansas.

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