WILLIAM H. GASS is an essayist, novelist, and literary critic. He grew up in Ohio and is a former professor of philosophy at Washington University. Among his books are six works of fiction and nine books of essays, including Tests of Time (2002), A Temple of Texts (2006), and Life Sentences (2012). New York Review Books will republish his story collection In the Heart of the Heart of the Country (1968) in 2014. Gass lives with his wife, the architect Mary Gass, in St. Louis. MICHAEL GORRA's Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece (2012) was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award in Biography. His earlier books include After Empire: Scott, Naipaul, and Rushdie (1997) and The Bells in Their Silence: Travels Through Germany (2004). He has taught at Smith College since 1985, where he is now the Mary Augusta Jordan Professor of English. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, with his wife and daughter.
"it is a talismanic, self-contained kind of book that seems more giving, more delicious every time one returns." The Guardian A book no person who loves writing and the sound writing makes should be without The New Republic Gass is a philosopher-voluptuary, someone who romances language with a roue's cunning, and isn't afraid to play with words and ideas for sheer sport. Diane Ackerman On Being Blue is a luminous work, a tour de force on blue, that word (and color) reverberant with what is called experience. On Being Blue celebrates both language and that which it represents and carefully draws our attention to that difficult middle ground on which the writer finds himself in lifelong struggle to join the two without sullying or smearing the clarities of either. Gilbert Sorrentino This is a tour de force...a virtuoso performance of great imaginative force. Los Angeles Times An enchanting book. John Bayley, The New York Times Book Review A blue-black, slightly brackish beauty of a book, a philosophical essay written, for the most part, with the lilt of a Renaissance epithalamium. Larry McMurtry, The Washington Post Book World