By William H. Gass
These twenty-five essays communicate to the character and price of writing and to the books that end result from a deep dedication to the be aware. this is Gass on Rilke and Gertrude Stein; on buddies akin to Stanley Elkin, Robert Coover, and William Gaddis; and on a firm of “healthy dissidents,” between them Rabelais, Elias Canetti, John Hawkes, and Gabriel García Márquez.
In the identify essay, Gass bargains an annotated checklist of the fifty books that experience most affected his considering and his paintings and writes approximately his first response to interpreting every one. one of the books: Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (“A lightning bolt,” Gass writes. “Philosophy used to be now not useless in spite of everything. Philosophical pursuits weren't extinguished. Philosophical attractiveness had now not fled prose.”) . . . Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist (“A guy after my very own center. he's able to the best lyrical stroke, as daring and direct as a line by means of Matisse, yet he should be complicated in a way that can forged Nabokov within the color . . . Shakespeare could have been smarter, yet he didn't be aware of as much.”) . . . Gustave Flaubert’s letters (“Here I learned—and learned—and learned.”) And after examining Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, Gass writes “I started to devour books like an alien worm.”
In the concluding essay, “Evil,” Gass enlarges upon the topics of inventive caliber and cultural values which are imperative to the books he has thought of, a lot of which search to bare the worst in humans whereas admiring what they do best.
As Gass writes, “The precise alchemists don't switch lead into gold, they alter the area into words.”
A Temple of Texts is Gass at his such a lot alchemical.
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A Temple of Texts by William H. Gass