By William H. Gass

ISBN-10: 0307262863

ISBN-13: 9780307262868

Winner of the 2007 Truman Capote Award for Literary feedback, A Temple of Texts is the most recent serious assortment from one among America's maximum essayists and novelists. right here, William H. Gass will pay homage to the readerly aspect of the literary adventure through turning his serious sensibility upon the entire books that formed his personal improvement as a reader, author, and man or woman.

With essays on figures starting from William Shakespeare and Gertrude Stein to Flann O'Brien and Robert Burton, Gass creates a "temple" of readerly devotion, a set of severe explorations as wonderful and incisive as readers have come to anticipate from this literary grasp, but additionally a shockingly own window into the author's personal literary improvement.

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Contrast it with the land of bad puns and bubble-breasted (and brained) women which crowds the A section of the chain bookstores in the name of humour. Will stories from Xanth ever teach a teenage boy something important about death? Unfortunately not. My bias is that such writing is lazy and irresponsible, and that whatever the lightness of the froth we produce, we should locate it in authenticity. There is one last caveat here. I tell my students, and I tell myself, that on no account must they—must any of us—think about these uplifting, moral and idealistic things when they—when we—sit down to write.

The use and understanding of codes plays a big role. At our clinic we had a patient for a year, a member of the Czech counter-intelligence before the war, who insisted that his wife, who had deserted him and was now running a small pub in the country, used her beer tap to communicate with aliens and prepare for their invasion. At the harder times of our lives, in the 1950s and 1970s, when the secret police was all-mighty, we had constant visits by young officers because our patient complained that he was not taken seriously.

For the whole of the 1950s I devoted myself to medicine and wrote only during the weekends or in the army, where I had to serve with the airforce during the Cold War. The general situation, especially during the Korean War, seemed the beginning of catastrophe, and with the threat of atomic war another holocaust seemed to be in train. Stalinist thinking began to infiltrate medicine and the natural sciences. The origin of every invention was presumed to be Soviet and Stalin himself was the arbiter on linguistics, physics and biology, evidently thinking that since he had defeated Hitler and since Marxist theory could comprehend economics, it could comprehend everything.

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A Temple of Texts by William H. Gass


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