Finding a Form: Essays

Front Cover
Cornell University Press, 1997 - Literary Collections - 354 pages
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. With dazzling intelligence and wit, Gass 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.
 

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User Review  - Laurenbdavis - LibraryThing

This is a deeply intelligent, often witty, book on literary craft and form. Gass adores language and plays with it throughout; I might even go so far as to say he was a little too smirkingly pleased ... Read full review

FINDING A FORM: Essays

User Review  - Kirkus

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 ... Read full review

Contents

The Peoples Prize
3
A Failing Grade for the Present Tense
14
Finding a Form
31
A Fiesta for the Form
55
Robert Walser
65
Fords Impressionisms
77
The Language of Being and Dying
104
PART III
119
Autobiography
177
The Vicissitudes of the AvantGarde
199
The Story of the State of Nature
237
The Baby or the Botticelli
277
Simplicities
293
The Music of Prose
313
The Book As a Container of Consciousness
327
Copyright

Wittgenstein
146

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About the author (1997)

William Howard Gass was born in Fargo, North Dakota on July 30, 1924. During World War II, he served as an ensign in the Navy. He received an A.B. in philosophy from Kenyon College in 1947 and a PhD in philosophy from Cornell University in 1954. He taught at several universities including The College of Wooster, Purdue University, and Washington University in St. Louis. He wrote novels, collections of short stories and novellas, and collections of criticism. His novels included Omensetter's Luck, Middle C, and The Tunnel, which received the American Book Award. His other works of fiction included In the Heart of the Heart of the Country, Willie Master's Lonesome Wife, Cartesian Sonata and Other Novellas, and Eyes: Novellas and Stories. His collections of criticism included Tests of Time; A Temple of Texts, which won the 2007 Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism; and Habitations of the Word and Finding a Form, which both won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism. His essay collections included Fiction and the Figures of Life, The World Within the Word, and Reading Rilke. He died from congestive heart failure on December 6, 2017 at the age of 93.

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