Exhibition, reading to feature William Gass

In conjunction with the debut of Gass’ new novel Middle C, the University Libraries present an exhibition and a reading featuring the critically acclaimed WUSTL author this spring

William Gass teaching in 1984. (Credit: WUSTL Photos/Herb Weitman)

“William H. Gass: The Soul Inside the Sentence” opened March 11 in Olin Library’s Ginkgo Reading Room and Grand Staircase Lobby. Drawing on Special Collections’ archive of his literary papers, the exhibition includes items related to each of Gass’ many books, which range from novels to short story collections to essays and literary criticism.

Materials related to Gass’ education, World War II Navy experience, teaching career, photography and bibliophilism are also among the items to be displayed. Continuing through early July, the physical exhibition will precede a digital exhibit. Once available online, that ongoing resource will include content from the physical exhibition, as well as audio and video elements and a closer look at some of the Gass manuscripts.

An image of Gass’ diagram of the tunnel from his magnum opus The Tunnel, which will be included as part of the exhibition. (Credit: University Libraries)

Gass also will give a reading at 4 p.m. April 2 in Wilson Hall, Room 214, titled “How to Behave Around Books.” Gass will open the presentation with an essay, “I Live in a Library,” and then read selections from his new book, Middle C (Knopf, March 2013). Books will be available for purchase and signing following the event.

Gass is the David L. May Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Humanities at WUSTL, where he taught philosophy for 30 years and also founded and directed the International Writers Center. Gass began donating his literary papers to the Modern Literature Collection in the 1960s, before the publication of his acclaimed first novel, Omensetter’s Luck. Now in his late 80s, Gass continues to write prolifically, most recently publishing essays in Conjunctions and Harper’s, among others. Middle C is his 15th book.

To learn more about the manuscripts unit at Washington University Libraries, visit: http://library.wustl.edu/units/spec/manuscripts/. The reading and exhibition are free and open to the public, and the exhibition will be available for viewing any time that Olin Library is open (see the library hours page at http://www.library.wustl.edu/about/hours.html). Call (314) 935-5495 for more information.