William H. Gass is an American novelist, short-story writer, essayist, critic, and emeritus professor of philosophy. His first novel, Omensetter’s Luck, about life in a small town in Ohio in the 1890s, was published in 1966. Since then he has published several more works of fiction, including In the Heart of the Heart of the Country, The Tunnel, and Middle C. He has also published several collections of essays, including Fiction and the Figures of Life, Habitations of the Word, Finding a Form, and Life Sentences. Gass has received many awards and honors, including grants from the Rockefeller and Solomon R. Guggenheim foundations, four Pushcart Prizes, the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Fiction, the American Book Award, and three National Book Critics Circle Awards for Criticism. In 2000, he was honored with the PEN/Nabokov Lifetime Achievement Award.
On Being Blue is a book about everything blue—sex and sleaze and sadness, among other things. It brings us the world in a word as only William H. Gass, among contemporary American writers, can do.
One of the major documents of modern European civilization, Robert Burton’s astounding compendium, a survey of melancholy in all its myriad forms, has invited nothing but superlatives since its publication in the seventeenth century.