Washington University to Celebrate William H. Gass’s Life at April 6 Event

On Friday, April 6, 2018, Washington University in St. Louis is hosting “William H. Gass: His Life and Legacy.” Gass died on December 6, 2017, at the age of 93. He was the David L. May Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Humanities at Washington University, where he taught philosophy for 30 years and also founded and directed the International Writers Center from 1990 until his retirement in 2001.

William H. Gass. Photo by Joe Angeles

Gass was a popular and highly respected professor in the Department of Philosophy. Along with his many distinctions in teaching, Gass was widely known and admired for his award-winning books of essays on fiction, art, and culture, and for his innovative works of “metafiction” (a term he devised), such as In the Heart of the Heart of the Country, The Tunnel, and Middle C. He began donating his literary papers to Washington University Libraries’ Modern Literature Collection just before the publication of his acclaimed first novel, Omensetter’s Luck, in 1966.

The event on April 6 will celebrate all aspects of William H. Gass’s life and his internationally acclaimed accomplishments as a teacher, scholar, critic, and writer. At 2:45 p.m. in Special Collections in John M. Olin Library, John Biggs, Kathryn Davis, Martin Riker, and Mark Rollins will give remarks, followed by a viewing of manuscripts from the William H. Gass Papers at 3:15. In Holmes Lounge at 4:00, Lorin Cuoco, Michael Eastman, Matthias Goeritz, Garth Risk Hallberg, Joy Williams, and Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton will give remarks, followed by a reception. The remarks in Holmes Lounge will be preceded and followed by a photo slide show curated by Catherine Gass, adjunct assistant professor of photography at School of the Art Institute of Chicago and daughter of William and Mary Gass.

The event is free and open to the public. Visitor parking is available at the Danforth University Center underground garage. For more information, visit the Danforth Underground Parking web page or download a PDF of a campus map.

The Modern Literature Collection recently posted a series remembering Gass’s work:

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