Gass, William H., 1924-

Alternative names
Birth 1924-07-30

Biographical notes:

American essayist and novelist William H. Gass was a professor of philosophy at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, when he wrote this letter.

In 1979 Gass was named David May Distinguished University Professor in the Humanities at Washington University, from which he is now emeritus. He was also the Director of International Writers Center from 1990 to 2000.

Born July 30, 1924, in Fargo, North Dakota, William Gass is a philosopher by training, particularly the philosophy of language, which is manifest in his writing.

Omensetter's Luck, which was Gass's first novel, was published in 1966 and received widespread critical acclaim. His later novel, The Tunnel (1994) was awarded a PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and American Book Award, both 1996.

As an noted essayist, William Gass's collection, Finding a Form: Essays received the National Book Critics Circle criticism award in 1997 and his Tests of Time: Essays, was awarded both the National Book Critics Circle award for criticism, as well as the PEN/Spielvogel Diamonstein Award for the art of the essay from the PEN American Center in 2003.

American novelist and educator Jonathan Carroll is author of the "Rondua" trilogy and other supernatural fiction. Carroll has also written screenplays and book reviews, as well as contributing short stories to fantasy and horror anthologies and to such periodicals as Transatlantic Review , Sport , Cimarron Review , Christian Science Monitor , and Four Quarters . Born January 26, 1949, in New York, New York, Carroll has taught English at American International School, Vienna, Austria, since 1974. Carroll was teaching English at the St. Louis Country Day School in St. Louis, Missouri in 1973, when he invited Gass to his class.

"William H(oward) Gass." Contemporary Authors Online. (reproduced in Gale Biography In Context). (accessed July 2011). "Jonathan Carroll." Contemporary Authors Online. (reproduced in Gale Biography In Context). (accessed July 2011).

From the guide to the William H. Gass letter to Jonathan Carroll, 1973 October 4, (University of Delaware Library - Special Collections)

Biographical Note: William H. Gass, the American author, was born in Fargo, North Dakota, July 30, 1924.

Gass received his B.A. from Kenyon College, 1954. He did his graduate work in philosophy at Cornell University, receiving his Ph. D. in 1954. Gass taught at Purdue University until 1969 and later taught both philosophy and English at Washington University in St. Louis. Gass is the author of novels, short stories, and essays including "Omensetter's Luck" (1966), "In the Heart of the Heart of the Country" (1968), "The World Within the World" (1978), and "Habitations of the Word" (1985).

From the description of William H. Gass collection, 1961-1985. (Johns Hopkins University). WorldCat record id: 49301987


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  • Poetry--History and criticism
  • Authors, American--20th century--Archives
  • Novelists, American--20th century--Correspondence
  • Poets, American--20th century--Biography


  • Poets, American--20th century
  • Authors, American--20th century


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