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Throughout his career, William Gass relentlessly pushed at the boundaries of language, celebrating the music of the sentence and the aesthetics of the written word. Now, the best and most important of his work is collected in one volume. There are essays on Plato, Hobbes, James, Joyce, Beckett, Stein, Gaddis, Sterne, Ford Madox Ford, Thomas Mann. There are pieces that examine the inner workings of writing. There is his masterful short fiction, from the perfectly crafted novella “In Camera” to the mythical “In the Heart of the Heart of the Country.” And there are excerpts from his novels, including his magnum opus, The Tunnel. Taken together, this collection is a peerless, essential celebration of literature—and an invaluable guide for anyone who wants to understand how great writing works.