Do I contradict myself? Very well then . . .

William H. Gass’s books Finding a Form and Reading Rilke demonstrate over and over that one of this author’s great qualities is his ability, as Daniel Mendelsohn put it, to leave you “feeling more human.”

Gass is also revered for his 1999 essay, “A Defense of the Book,” which is why David Streitfeld interviewed Gass for a New York Times article last week called “A Champion of the Book Takes to the iPad.”

Do yourself a favor.  Read all four.  You will feel more human about what is happening to the book.

2 thoughts on “Do I contradict myself? Very well then . . .

  1. rebeccaromney 2012/11/16 / 07:49

    I’m going through Reading Rilke at the moment–completely independent of my serendipitous discovery of this post–and wanted to say that it is delightful! Have you read The Tunnel?


    • BooksOnBooks 2012/11/17 / 12:33

      No, but as I am plowing through Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich for the first time, I now feel fated to read this tale of a middle-aged academic anti-hero who writes this novel while trying to write an introduction to his historical study, Guilt and Innocence in Hitler’s Germany. Also, a fan of Helmut Lehmann-Haupt’s work, I was struck by the coincidence of the favorable review from his son, Christopher. And, finally, your essay in praise of the Hypnerotomachiapoliphili, another unread personal favorite, clinches it: this serendipity gives new meaning to “required reading.”


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