Gass, William Howard, 1924–, American author, b. Fargo, N.Dak., grad. Kenyon College, 1947; Ph.D. Cornell, 1954. In 1969 he became a professor of philosophy at Washington Univ., St. Louis. Rejecting traditional realism and interested in experimenting with the novel's form, he has been compared to Sherwood Anderson in his treatment of "grotesque" characters and to James Joyce in his wordplay and linguistic complexity. His works include the novels Omensetter's Luck (1966), The Tunnel (1995), and Middle C (2013), the "novella-essay" Willie Master's Lonesome Wife (1968), Cartesian Sonata and Other Novellas (1998), and works of literary criticism, including Fiction and Figures of Life (1970), Habitations of the Word (1985), Finding a Form (1996), Reading Rilke (2000), and Tests of Time (2002).
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