Willie Masters' Lonesome Wife
William H. Gass.
TriQuarterly / Northwestern University Press, 1968. Octavo. Pictorial paper wraps, very minor edgewear and a slightly softened lower right corner, else fine. Unpaginated. First trade edition. Near fine.
An unconventional layout designed by Lawrence Levy: printed with a variety of typefaces on red, olive, blue, and white paper. In this paean to the pleasures of language, Gass equates his text with the body of Babs Masters, the lonesome wife of the title, to advance the conceit that a parallel should exist between a woman and her lover and a book and its reader. Disappointed by her inattentive husband / reader, Babs engages in an exuberant display of the physical charms of language to entice an illicit new lover: a man named Gelvin in one sense, but more importantly, the reader of this “essay-novella” which, in the years since its first appearance in 1968, as a supplement to TriQuarterly, has attained the status of postmodern classic.
“The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me. My eye and God's eye are one in the same”