Gass to read from new collection March 14

William H. Gass, Ph.D., the David May Distinguished University Professor Emeritus in the Humanities in Arts & Sciences, will read from his new collection of essays, A Temple of Texts, at 7 p.m. March 14 at Left Bank Books, 399 N. Euclid Ave.

Released in February, A Temple of Texts features 25 essays that speak to the nature and value of writing and to the books that result from a deep commitment to the word. The volume features pieces on Rilke and Gertrude Stein; on friends such as Stanley Elkin, Robert Coover and William Gaddis; and on a company of “healthy dissidents,” including Rabelais, Elias Canetti, John Hawkes and Gabriel Garcìa Márquez.

William Gass
William H. Gass

Gass is the author of several collections of essays, including Habitations of the Word (1985), Finding a Form (1996) and Tests of Time (2002), all of which won that year’s National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism — a record number in that category.

He also is author of the novels Omensetter’s Luck (1966), Willie Masters’ Lonesome Wife (1968) and The Tunnel (1996).

Last summer, Gass recorded an unabridged, 45-hour-long audiobook of The Tunnel at Clayton Studios in St. Louis. In May, the Dalkey Archive Press will release the recording on three CDs using the MP3 format.

Also included is a booklet of never-before published précis that Gass wrote as background information for the novel.

The Tunnel audiobook will be available in bookstores and online at

A native of Fargo, N.D., Gass earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 1947 from Kenyon College and a doctorate in philosophy in 1954 from Cornell University.

He joined the WUSTL faculty in 1969 as a full professor and was named the David May Distinguished University Professor in the Humanities in 1979.

In 1990, he founded the International Writers Center, now The Center for the Humanities.

The reading is free and open to the public. For more information, call 367-6731.