WUSTL Special Collections launches online resource on William Gass

Guided tour of Olin Library exhibition set for July 19

Prof. William Gass teaches students in 1984. (Credit: WUSTL Photos/herb weitman)

An Olin Library exhibition, titled William H. Gass: The Soul Inside the Sentence, ends July 31. But a newly launched digital version of the exhibit allows for ongoing exploration of a wide-ranging selection of the esteemed writer’s drafts, interviews, photographs and much more.

A final gallery talk is also scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday, July 19, in Olin Library’s Ginkgo Reading Room (Level 1), providing a guided tour of the in-person exhibition.

Created by Washington University Libraries’ manuscripts curator, Joel Minor, and library assistant Sarah Schnuriger, the exhibition draws on the extensive archive of Gass’ literary papers housed in WUSTL Libraries’ Modern Literature Collection and includes other items on loan from Gass.

On display are items related to each of Gass’ many books — which range from novels to short-story collections to essays and literary criticism — as well as his education, World War II Navy experience, teaching career and more.

Gass, PhD, is the David May Distinguished University Professor Emeritus in the Humanities, in Arts & Sciences, at Washington University in St. Louis, where he was hired as a professor of philosophy in 1969 and taught for three decades.

Visitors to the online exhibit can view drafts of published and unpublished writings, listen to recordings of Gass’ interviews and readings, and view photos and scans of important documents and objects that have shaped his life.

Also included is an essay, “My Memories of the Service,” which Gass wrote specifically for the exhibit.

Friday’s guided tour in Olin Library will be given by Minor and is free and open to the public, but attendance is limited. The group will meet in the Ginkgo Reading Room, Level 1, and the tour will last about one hour, with time for discussion and individual exhibit viewing at the end.

To reserve a space, call (314) 935-5495 or email spec@wulib.wustl.edu.

For more information about the William Gass Papers and other collections in the Modern Literature Collection, see the Manuscript Unit’s website.