William H. Gass, one of the finest living writers of English prose, has been a St. Louisan for almost 40 years. If you happen to have been a student of his at Washington University, lucky, lucky you; the motley rest of us can audit some of his brilliance for the price of any of his books of fiction or essays (ah, a bit more modest than that Wash. U. tariff). And though Gass is a high practitioner of the former, it's perhaps via the latter that he excels the most. The Gass essay is a thing of recondite felicities, flush with sentences that are elegant and composed, always, in the matchless music of the true artist. Mr. Gass celebrates the publication of his new essay collection, A Temple of Texts, with a free reading tonight at 7 p.m. at Left Bank Books (399 North Euclid Avenue; 314-367-6731 or www.left-bank.com).
Thu., March 16