Understanding William H. Gass

Overview

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 ...
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Overview

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 and follow tradition - as metafiction belonging to the company of works by John Barth but also as moral fiction belonging to the long American tradition that includes The Scarlet Letter and To Kill a Mockingbird.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
In this 5x7<"> guide to the work of American writer and philosopher William H. Gass, Hix, director of the School of Liberal Arts at the Kansas City Art Institute, explores parallels between Gass' fiction and nonfiction and seeks to clarify obscurities that have hindered access to his writing. He identifies psychological, metaphysical, and ethical themes and demonstrates how Gass' writings both break and follow traditions of metafiction and moral fiction. Hix has published poetry and works of criticism, and is the author of an earlier volume in this series. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Editor's Preface
Preface
List of Abbreviations
Ch. 1 Understanding William H. Gass 1
Ch. 2 Four Characters in Omensetter's Luck 6
Ch. 3 Five Stories: In the Heart of the Heart of the Country 30
Ch. 4 One Theme in Three Essays 51
Ch. 5 Two Shades of Blue: Willie Masters' Lonesome Wife and On Being Blue 62
Ch. 6 Twenty Questions on The Tunnel 76
Ch. 7 Four Movements: Cartesian Sonata 140
Notes 157
Bibliography 173
Index 183
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