Thirty years in the making, william gasss second novel first appeared. At this point, gass leaves the room and brings back a work of art, a framed image of the emblem of the party of the disappointed people, from the tunnel, which had some text from middle c layered. How many times was this draft edited to create in essence a final draft written at the plodding, prodding pace of 22 pages per annum. Gass s 1995 novel that took 26 years to write and earned him the american book award of 1996. Gasss novel the tunnel, his workinprogress for close to three decades. William gasss the tunnel is really too big to write about coherently in small chunks. The story of a middle aged professor who, upon completion of his massive historical study, guilt and innocence in hitlers. Analysis and discussion of characters in william h. His first novel, omensetters luck 1966, is about a man whose purity and good fortune are.
Gass, himself, reads his universally acclaimed novel in its entirety. By being fleeter and more seductively plotted than the tunnel, his 20 novel middle c managed to top it as a savage exploration of moral failure. The radical criticism of william gass the new yorker. In the first part of the program, gass read from what he calls the invocation to the muse section of the tunnel, as well as a portion of his. Gass and i met at the society for the study of narrative literatures annual conference, in east lansing, on the campus of michigan state university, in april 2002. The tunnel is the most beautiful, most complex, most disturbing. Sitting in cutoffs and tshirt, sipping on a bottle of ballantine ale, gass, at age fiftythre.
From a simple narrative idea gass creates a complicated internal odyssey. New york william gass, a leading experimental writer of the 1960s and 70s who went on to become an awardwinning essayist and translator and an. William gass was at the fore of the postmodern literary movement in the 1960s and 70s. The author of novels such as omensetters luck and the tunnel, he was praised for his ornate.
William gass, writer, literary critic, at 93 boston herald. Louis on may 12, 2005, between gass and crystal alberts, at the time a graduate student at washington university in st. William frederick kohler, the protagonist of william gass the tunnel, is a loathsome, despicable, misanthropic college professor ranting at his wife, his colleagues, his children and his mistresses. In the tunnel by william gass, the narrator quotes several limericks page 10, 15, 16, 18. Here, in chronological order of their deaths, is a selective compendium of literary obituaries from 2017. The tunnel conceitthe tunnel is an authorial conceit on the part of william h gass as well as his protagonist, william f. In the bookbound alcove off the bare room where he writes when at home, william gass gave this interview in july of 1976. Poets, editors, songwriters, teachers, journalists, novelistssome great writers and some undersung ones left us this year. It crosses genres including drawing, history, memoir, diary, quotation, encomium, rant, fiction, doggerel, epic invocation, and others and is, by design, a confusion of ideas and modes of thought and means of expression. The moral questions posed loom large and gass presents them well but not everyone will want to hear them.
While writing the introduction to his magnum opus, a moral history of hitlers germany, a middleaged historian finds himself writing instead a history of the historian himself and secretly digging a tunnel out of his own basement. Tunnel william h gass the tunnel william h gass if you ally craving such a referred the tunnel william h gass ebook that will allow you worth, acquire the categorically best seller from us currently from several preferred authors. Rilkes dense and intricate verbal texture has made translation all the more irresistible over the years, and gass, an intellectual eminence cartesian sonata. The tunnel is a dark, big book, without the passion of the european pessimists gass is no strindberg, nor, for all the pseudosympathy for or understanding of the nazis, is he a celine.
Here he is in 2007 reading from the beast of a book at the village voice bookshop in paris rip. Gasss 1995 novel that took 26 years to write and earned him the american book award of 1996. Tunelling with gass was depressing work, but work that rang true at many levels. Jul 23, 2019 the tunneldigging william kohler is a university professor, as was gass, with a history and a list of interests quite similar to gasss. Feb 21, 1995 the tunnel is an authorial conceit on the part of william h gass as well as his protagonist, william f. I even gave the book a shot and had to put it down because a month. Prizewinning authorcritic william gass, 93, experimental. Cartesian, in loose parlance, generally designates a high level of abstraction, a gutting out of the richness of corporeal reality, as when.
The trauma of the fallout shelter frenzy as expressed in the tunnel william h. This tome fits in the long and fat line of american novels that try to be comprehensive and larger than life, encompassing everything and more. One has to respect such care in crafting the tunnel. Powered by create your own unique website with customizable templates. At a metalevel i found gasss text, and his authorial presence behind his protagonist, useful in the development of empathy and selfanalysis gass excavates that william kohler may tunnel, and it his excavation that redeems, however blackly, kohlers tunnelling. Gass fiction has been a secret handshake among brainy readers for years.
A genrefree book that is a joy to read, reflecting gass s own joy in reading rilke. Louis washu, who was working on her dissertation that included an analysis of william gaddis 1922 1998. And its going to be snowing or its going to be raining and who will be waiting by the vacant lot at the corner in the cold wet wind, waiting for the damn dog. As with some earlier interviews i have posted here, this comes from a box of tapes in my basement, dating from a time when i did a weekly radio interview show. This particular novel finds miriam firmly ensconced within london, where she works as an assistant to a dentist. Like most of gass s essays, it wanders through a jungle of ideas and images, and then suddenly beats a series of clearly marked, though often forking, paths toward a clearing. It was also a finalist for the penfaulkner award the tunnel is the work of william frederick kohler, a professor of history at an unnamed university in the american midwest. We and our partners use your information collected through cookies and similar technologies to improve your experience on our site, analyse. In interviews he sometimes compared metaphor to junk food, which is of course dangerous, but also hard to define. Jan 29, 2020 so this weekend i started auditing william gasss novel the tunnel on mp3, read by the author. According to the books jacket, the tunnel came out in 1995 and was hailed as an indisputable masterpiece that centers around an overweight professor that becomes obsessed with attempting to write an introduction to guilt and. Gass s the tunnel and wanted to share this analysis of it.
Dec 06, 2017 gass worked for 30 years to complete his second novel, the tunnel 1995, a nearly plotfree exploration of the meanings of history, evil, and narrative. Sonorous, strange, ugly, beautiful, poetic, abyssal, phallic, anal, fragmented, rich. His critical writings habitations of the word 1985, finding a form 1996, and tests of time 2002 each won the national book critics circle award for criticism. Consider that william gass created this masterpiece over roughly the same time frame it takes to pay off the average mortgage 652 pages in 30 years. William gass magnum opus, thirty years in the making, is an unusual summingup. Kohlers introduction to his major work on world war ii, guilt and innocence in hitlers germany, the. Semiautobiographical, with an ornate use of language, penis obsessed, full of stupid limericks about horny nuns. The tunneldigging william kohler is a university professor, as was gass, with a history and a list of interests quite similar to gasss. Thirty years in the making, william gasss second novel first appeared on the literary scene in 1995, at which time it was promptly hailed as an indisputable masterpiece. Professor kohler is the narrator and main character of the tunnel by william h. At a metalevel i found gasss text, and his authorial presence behind his protagonist, useful in the development of empathy and selfanalysis gass excavates that william kohler may tunnel, and it his excavation that redeems, however blackly, kohlers. To go to an american or english bookstore and leaf through any of the many different translations of rainer maria rilkes duino elegies that are available is among the most depressing experiences one can have.
William gass, the tunnel 1995 rambru doc her have iihes sherbet. Its probably best to abandon any preconceptions of what it might mean when you enter either tunnel as a reader. Dec 10, 2017 new york william gass, a leading experimental writer of the 1960s and 70s who became an awardwinning essayist and translator and an influence on many younger writers, died wednesday at age 93. Even a reader willing to endure its length and its narrators unrelenting bitterness must. So this weekend i started auditing william gasss novel the tunnel on mp3, read by the author. It includes outtakes, artwork by the author, and twelve philippics descriptions of the novels intention. And sometimes the boundaries are better kept than others. Even a reader willing to endure its length and its narrators unrelenting bitterness must overcome its subordination of plot to other concerns. Gass s the tunnel, whatever its virtues, is not an inviting book. That mans name was william gass, and i made his textual acquaintance in college, when i studied with that other william g alas the latein name to gass a fraternal twin of sorts trading double s for double da writer with whom he is often conflated, and about whom gass eloquently spoke at the memorial service only a few years ago. The tunnel is the fourth volume of dorothy richardsons pilgrimage series, which follows the fascinating protagonist miriam henderson.
After 30 years of labor, gass habitations of the word, 1984, etc. Joseph skizzen of the novel middle c is an isolated music professor who specializes in arnold schoenberg, the composer whose twelvetone system gass. Already in the collections title, we see a hint of gasss greatest philosophical move, and the same one that is there in the tunnels concretization, or perhaps better its soiling, of metaphor. It crosses genres including drawing, history, memoir, diary, quotation, encomium, rant, fiction, doggerel, epic invocation, and others and is, by design, a confusion of. Created and curated by stephen schenkenberg, editor and publisher of the ears mouth must move. Gass was a professor of philosophy at washington university from 19662000, and director of the international writers center from 1990 until 2000. He has received 37 awards, served on 22 committees, juried the national book awards three times, and been elected to the. Professor kohler is the narrator and main character of the. The author of a previous novel, a dozen or so stories, and several collections of essays, gass began writing this book in 1966 1966the year the beatles recorded revolver, michelangelo antonioni released blowup, and twiggy was fashions favorite qtip. Gass, american writer noted for his experimentation with stylistic devices. I really should write more about this in the near future. Even a reader willing to endure its length and its narrators unrelenting bitterness must overcome. My analysis william gass s the tunnel, now a work in progress for more than twenty years, provides an interesting and exemplary case of postmodernity in literature, and of the features of postmodern fiction in particular. He wrote three novels, three collections of short stories, a collection of novellas, and seven volumes of essays, three of which have won national book critics circle award prizes and one of which, a temple of texts 2006, won the truman capote.
William gass can give us a raymond carver character as analyzed by. Gass was born in fargo, north dakota in 1924, and met wittgenstein and nabokov during graduate studies at cornell university where his dissertation, a philosophical investigation of metaphor, was the beginning of a lifelong love affair with language. Mar 22, 20 the tunnel meditates on history, hatred, unhappiness, and, above all, language. William gass, a leading experimental writer of the 1960s and 70s who went on to become an awardwinning essayist and translator and an influence on many younger writers, has died at his home in st. Intermediality in world literature, asuncion lopez varela ed. The central figure and nonstop voice of the tunnel is william frederick kohler, a history professor at a major midwestern university. Omensetters luck, willie masters lonesome wife, the tunnel, and middle c. The sheer genius of gass book is not merely that he breathes life into such a character, but that he makes him so pruriently fascinating. New york william gass, a leading experimental writer of the 1960s and 70s who went on to become an awardwinning essayist and translator and an influence on many younger writers, died. I write because i hate it is not hard to imagine young gass chafing at the bit that midcentury analytic philosophy had sought to place in his mouth. My mom made the neighbors spitz her pal by poisoning it with the gin she sprinkled on the table scraps. Gasss the tunnel and wanted to share this analysis of it. In the tunnel by william gass, professor kohler is trying to.
Gass what follows is an interview that took place at william h. Beginning to dig into gasss the tunnel 1 of 2 big other. Gass is not quite as well known as many of his literary contemporaries, but he shouldnt be ignored. Please send any questions, comments, or content this way. William howard gass july 30, 1924 december 6, 2017 was an american novelist, shortstory writer, essayist, critic, and philosophy professor. Formatted as an mp3, the reading fits on three cds. The metaphorical tunnel doesnt represent an escape route out of anywhere, nor does it represent a method. Gass called his fiction works experimental constructions, and each of his books contains stylistic innovations. William gass, who died this week, argued that the charge of a writer was not to relate a world but to create onea world of sound, of the melody made when syllables collide. I first discovered the tunnel sitting at my school library during my sophomore year of college and wasnt sure if i was ready to read it because of the novels many complexities, especially when considering the style in which it was written. The tunnel excerpt a poetic support of the downtrodden, and a fathers refusal to buy a family dog. William gass teaching at washington university, 1974. Gass the tunnel with extended analysis, commentary, and discussion.
I think in one sense, the fictions what matters most to me. Dec 07, 2017 william gass, a leading experimental writer of the 1960s and 70s who went on to become an awardwinning essayist and translator and an influence on many younger writers, has died at his home in st. Published books middle c in progress cartesian sonata and other novellas 1998. A classic david foster wallace double bind if you will. Gass has been sitting on the tunnel for quite a while, and i do mean sitting. Critics universally adored the tunnel, his 1995 opus, even though it was nearly impossible to read. A website exploring this esteemed american writers work and his readers reactions. If you desire to hilarious books, lots of novels, tale, jokes, page 121.1303 431 131 1259 539 1507 49 606 523 1125 423 723 710 1543 391 737 1618 530 1229 659 94 95 1286 1112 518 382 239 815 1260 228 600 1455 1402 1375 729 1310