William Gass: “Ways of Reading Are Adversaries”

William Gass, in his 1977 Paris Review interview

INTERVIEWER

Is the reader an adversary for you?

GASS

No. I don’t think much about the reader. Ways of reading are adversaries—those theoretical ways. As far as writing something is concerned, the reader really doesn’t exist. The writer’s business is somehow to create in the work something which will stand on its own and make its own demands; and if the writer is good, he discovers what those demands are, and he meets them, and creates this thing which readers can then do what they like with. Gertrude Stein said, “I write for myself and strangers,” and then eventually she said that she wrote only for herself. I think she should have taken one further step. You don’t write for anybody. People who send you bills do that. People who want to sell you things so they can send you bills do that. People who want to tell you things so they can sell you things so they can send you bills do that. You are advancing an art—the art. That is what you are trying to do.

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4 comments

  1. ccllyyddee · September 20, 2012

    Must going to be a cold winter. Biblioklept’s got it’s thinking cap on. Much cud to chew on.

    Like

  2. Nick · September 20, 2012
  3. Pingback: A True Alchemist? - Everyday Gyaan
  4. Pingback: A True Alchemist? - Write Tribe

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