A music professor cultivates snobbery to advance his career in William H. Gass's new novel
What would “late style,” that unholy, messy, and probably overutilized critical category, mean for a writer like William Gass? To turn the sentence around, if William Gass were said to possess a late style—a moment not of well-earned serenity and reconciliation but of what Edward Said characterized as “intransigence, difficulty, and unresolved contradiction”—what would it look like for a writer who was notoriously intransigent and defiantly difficult even in his early work?
In Gass’s new novel, Middle C, his first since The Tunnel (1995), there is no apparent falling away from (or in Said’s phrase a “going against”) the author’s signature hyperliterary gamboling. Not as long as its infamously unending predecessor, Middle C is nonetheless the fruit as well of decades spent tinkering with a bulky and ambitious
… full text available to registered users