Scathing, lyrical, and hilarious by turns, this collection of essays by William H. Gass—perhaps our greatest critic and author—sounds a rallying cry against the steady encroachment of the banal (“the Pulitzer Prize in fiction,” he claims, “takes dead aim at mediocrity and almost never misses”) and the lazy (on minimalist realism: “The advantage to writing this slack is that the writer can’t hang himself with any length of it”) into the fields of fiction. It also provides two of the most dazzling statements of purpose a writer has ever set down about his own art (“Finding a Form,” and “The Book as a Container of Consciousness”); makes a thorough and entertaining examination of what, exactly, ought to be called “avant-garde”; examines the work of a number of other great thinker-stylists (Ford Madox Ford, Robert Walser, Wittgenstein); and provides a concise, playful history of the art of narrative as a whole. An indispensable roadmap to the language that shapes our books and our lives, Finding a Form is a milestone in American letters.
Publication: Coleman Dowell Literature Series
Format: Paperback / softback
Number of pages: 368
Publication date: 8/1/2009
List price: $15.95