Life Sentences: Literary Judgments and Accounts and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy New
$21.06
Qty:1
  • List Price: $28.95
  • Save: $7.89 (27%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 12 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Life Sentences: Literary ... has been added to your Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Life Sentences: Literary Judgments and Accounts Hardcover – Deckle Edge, January 17, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0307595843 ISBN-10: 0307595846 Edition: 1St Edition

Buy New
Price: $21.06
36 New from $4.48 39 Used from $3.78 1 Collectible from $25.00
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover, Deckle Edge
"Please retry"
$21.06
$4.48 $3.78
Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


Frequently Bought Together

Life Sentences: Literary Judgments and Accounts + On Being Blue: A Philosophical Inquiry (New York Review Books Classics)
Price for both: $32.77

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Image
Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1St Edition edition (January 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307595846
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307595843
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #304,855 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The pleasures in Gass’ (A Temple of Texts, 2006) new powerhouse essay collection are heady, varied, and many. Now in his late eighties, the philosopher-writer is more frolicsome than ever in his fathoms-deep erudition and purring, stalking, and fencing prose. Gass writes so cogently, robustly, and puckishly about literary, metaphysical, and moral matters because he knows his subjects down to their subatomic particles. He happily reports that he “relished” the diagramming of sentences as a grade-school student, hence his dynamic lectures-become-essays on sentence structure, the anatomy and history of the metaphor, and Platonic forms. Having profoundly internalized Kafka’s work and life, Gass imagines Kafka writing a memoir-from-beyond, in which he corrects biographical misperceptions. Further musings on the pitfalls of literary biography engender a vivid portrait of Katherine Anne Porter and an exultantly expert solution to all the speculation about Henry James’ sexuality. Gass is mischievously insurgent in “Lust,” reordering our definitions of vice and virtue. A set of piquant personal essays includes reflections on the Fourth of July, tyranny and freedom of expression, and “Slices of Life in a Library,” a charmingly comic homage to the joys and misdemeanors of passionate reading. The brainy, ethical, artistic, and ebullient fun Gass has in this brimming volume will exalt every ardent reader. --Donna Seaman

Review

“Gass [is] a first-rate essayist and something of a classicist . . . a major talent [and] an intrepid critic . . . Life Sentences is a roaming collection . . . incisive . . . elegant.”

—Larry McMurtry, Harper’s Magazine
 
Life Sentences is much more than occasion to regrind old axes…It’s a moving testimony that, for all his abstract theorizing, Gass, now 87, still knows his way to the heart of a story.”
 
—Larry Hardesty, The Boston Globe
                                                           
 “Let’s just get it out of the way: William H. Gass can write. I know: That’s not breaking news. Over the course of a half-century, Gass’ beautifully constructed prose has drawn raves, earning him an American Book award, a PEN / Nabokov Lifetime Achievement award and three National Book Critics Circle awards for criticism . . . Gass’ skills haven’t waned with age, either. His new collection of essays written over the past decade, Life Sentences: Literary Judgments and Accounts is so agile and well-written it seems to demand a round of appreciative applause every few pages, as if he were a leotard-clad acrobat swinging high overhead.”
 
—Doug Childers, Richmond Times-Dispatch
 
“Other than praising the book and urging people to read it—and quoting as many elegantly constructed passages as one can get away with—there isn’t much for a book reviewer to do. I can’t even resign myself to giving advice on where to start and what to skip, because Life Sentences is that rare book of essays that has no low points and can be read straight through.”
—Troy Jollimore, The Barnes & Noble Review
 
“Mr. Gass is an ironist of the highest caliber, a metafictional novelist of the Coover, Barth, Pynchon and Gaddis school. At 87, he is an improbable éminence grise of American letters, festooned with accolades; if there is any justice in the world he will one day get his Nobel prize. When he is not deathly serious with his sly, avuncular delivery of 3-in-the-morning-crisis existential epiphanies, he is hilariously subversive . . . Though he is also a masterful novelist—Omensetter’s Luck (1966) is widely considered a classic—his reputation rests on his criticism and essays . . . As an essayist, his prose is gorgeously musical, ticking along smoothly as if measured out by metronome. He composes miniature fugues and conducts cadenzas while meandering around his subjects . . . [Life Sentences] is a literary miracle.”
 
—Vladislav Davidzon, The New York Observer
 
“The pleasures in Gass’ new powerhouse essay collection are heady, varied, and many . . . the philosopher-writer is more frolicsome than ever in his fathoms-deep erudition and purring, stalking, and fencing prose. Gass writes so cogently, robustly, and puckishly about literary, metaphysical, and moral matters because he knows his subjects down to their subatomic particles . . . The brainy, ethical, artistic, and ebullient fun Gass has in this brimming volume will exalt every ardent reader.”
 
—Donna Seaman, Booklist, starred


More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
3
4 star
1
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 4 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. Campbell on December 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
How did I not know about William Gass??
He is a great writer, witty, profound, a page turner
read. This is the first book of his I have purchased
but I will be adding more to my library.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Herbert Leibowitz on July 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
William Gass is arguably America's most incisive, versatile, and brilliant literary critic. Whatever subject he analyzes--the Nazis's brutally efficient killing machine, Kafka, Nietzsche, the art of retrospection--he illuminates. His prose is scintillating, witty, experimental in form, and endlessly inventive with metaphors. He is incapable of writing a banal sentence. He wears his vast knowledge with deft assurance. At 88, he is writing with consummate ease and power. LIFE SENTENCES offers readers an unforgettable feast cooked by a master chef. Literary criticism is rarely so pleasurable.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Steiner VINE VOICE on October 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover
William Gass' latest collection of essays is generally an excellent contribution to his growing body of letters. Readers of Gass will identify a number of regular subjects here, e.g. Henry James, Kafka, Katherine Ann Porter, etc. There are also really extraordinary essays on the Structure of Sentences as well as a sequence of lectures on a variety of topics from Ancient Greek Philosophy and Aesthetics, particularly the lecture on Eidos (Form). Additionally, Gass has a wonderful piece on Nietzsche and Illness which belongs among the shelves of any serious Nietzschean.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
19 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Virginie on February 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
... William Gass's books would be bestsellers. Admirable writing from the most intelligent contemporary novelist, essayist and philosopher there is.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?