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Surface #35

Text By William H. Gass | Photographs by Michael Eastman

Editor’s Note: This project originated as a collaboration between longtime friends William Gass and Michael Eastman. With their permission, I published the material as an iPad-only e-book in 2012, garnering a small bit of attention from head-scratching literary folks who knew Gass as a print man through and through. In summer 2016, I removed the e-book from Apple’s bookstore and published it here on Medium. I’m pleased that many more readers, including several living abroad who emailed me to say they wished they could read it but could not, can now take it in.

1. The Concrete Seeks the Abstract — Where It Has Always Been Most at Home

It was an age of triumph. It was an age of shame. It was an age of anxiety. It was an age of blame. It was an age of rebirth and rebuilding, of wars rekindling. It was an age of mistrust and suspicion, of faith in decline. It was an age of innocence. It was an age of sin without redeemer or redemption. It was an age of insanity — craze succeeding craze. It was an age of returning normalcy. It was an age of accelerating change: things coming — in a wink — into being, things passing — with the swiftness of a sneeze — quite away. It was, in short, much like every other age. …

— Stephen Schenkenberg, May 2014

I have published this project for two kinds of readers: those who have been reading William H. Gass over his long and decorated career; and those now rightly catching up.

For both, the next 90,000-plus words provide a uniquely rich exploration of Gass’ oeuvre and synthesis of his philosophy. …


Stephen Schenkenberg

Live in St. Louis. Married to @tschenkenberg. Editor, More,

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