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Conversations with William H. Gass (Literary Conversations Series) Paperback – June 16, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Interviews with the author of Omensetter's Luck and The Tunnel --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Theodore G. Ammon is chair of the philosophy department at Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss. His work has appeared in such publications as Romance Notes, Arachne, College Mathematics, and the Journal of Aesthetic Education.


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Product Details

  • Series: Literary Conversations Series
  • Paperback: 175 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi (June 16, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157806547X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578065479
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,503,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Peter F Cook on October 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
When I first saw the book "Conversations with William Gass," I was excited-Gass has always fascinated me, both for his byzantine but flawlessly-executed prose, and for the marginalized place he occupies in belles letters next to his more-recognized peers (John Barth, Thomas Pynchon, et al.). Now, I thought, I would finally have the opportunity to bore into his tightly-guarded head, to worm my way under his notoriously-thick skin-the literary voyeur in me was nearly slavering at the prospect. Slavering, that was, until I read the table of contents and realized that a more apt title would have been "Collected Interviews With William Gass."

The closest "Conversations" comes to providing a real conversation is in "William Gass and John Gardner: A Debate on Fiction." This piece is by far the most interesting in the book, pitting Gass against his long-term acquaintance/friend/mentor/nemesis (depending on whom one asks). The subject of their debate is the moral responsibility of the author; Gardner is a staunch defender of the need for fiction to tackle real-life ethical questions, while Gass believes that the only moral obligation a writer (or any artist) has is to the beauty of his or her creation. This is good stuff-some of Gass's more particular theories of writing (e.g., the necessity of anger for an author, the importance of a text modifying its reader in much the way one object in a metaphor modifies the other) are brought into sharp focus when he is up against an antagonistic and well-spoken interlocutor.

The only other truly bright spot in the book is Thomas LeClair's interview for The Paris Review.
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Conversations with William H. Gass (Literary Conversations Series)
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