Review of Finding a Form

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Author: John O'Brien
Editor: Jeffrey W. Hunter
Date: 2000
Publisher: Gale
Document Type: Book review; Critical essay
Length: 680 words

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[(review date Spring 1997) In the following review, O'Brien offers praise for Finding a Form.]

Gass is a writer who has always believed in public discourse, that the act of the critic and scholar is to engage as wide an audience as possible in matters of serious intent (that is, that these things matter or at least have consequences for the body politic) and that, therefore, the form of the discourse must itself be engaging, resonate, enlivening, and at times, vituperative. The present collection hits the mark in every way, though one may mourn that there are not more critics who see their function as this, as opposed to the academic specialist who, if he speaks to anyone more than himself, speaks only to other, specialists in deadening prose. One might especially wish that other novelists might so speak more often, though of course one knows that many of them have little critical ability and can speak, quite poorly and unintelligently, only about themselves. Gass is this rare figure whose...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|H1100033597