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Lawrence Levy Collection

 Collection — Box: VMF 20, Folder: 12
Identifier: MS-VMF-vmf245

The Lawrence Levy Collection of Willie Master's Lonesome Wife by William H. Gass consists of photocopies of correspondence between William H. Gass, Lawrence Levy, and Charles Newman related to the publication of Willie Master's Lonesome Wife as well as10 photocopied drafts and newspaper clippings. Also included are photocopied letters and memos from Levy related to the sale of an archive of Willie Master's Lonesome Wife materials and resulting dispute over ownership with Northwestern University.

Dates

  • Creation: 1967-1990

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Open

Conditions Governing Use

Users of the collection must read and agree to abide by the rules and procedures set forth in the Materials Use Policies.

Providing access to materials does not constitute permission to publish or otherwise authorize use. All publication not covered by fair use or other exceptions is restricted to those who have permission of the copyright holder, which may or may not be Washington University.

If you wish to publish or license Special Collections materials, please contact Special Collections to inquire about copyright status at (314) 935-5495 or spec@wumail.wustl.edu. (Publish means quotation in whole or in part in seminar or term papers, theses or dissertations, journal articles, monographs, books, digital forms, photographs, images, dramatic presentations, transcriptions, or any other form prepared for a limited or general public.)

Extent

1 Folders

Biographical Information

Lawrence Levy graduated from Northwestern University with a B.A. in English and Art History in 1961. He served as art director of TriQuarterly Magazine from 1966-1979 in addition to serving as director of art and design of Willie Masters’ Lonesome Wife by William H. Gass. From 1970-1972, Levy was assistant professor of visual communication at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Finally, Levy directed several documentaries including Ten Thousand Beads for Navajo Sam (1970) and Kibbutz Crossroads (1972) and television shows and films including The White Shadow (1981), Hill Street Blues (1982), and The Wrong Way Kid (1985).

William Howard Gass (July 30, 1924 - December 6, 2017) was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, critic, and former philosophy professor. Born in Fargo, North Dakota, Gass grew up in Warren, Ohio, where he graduated from Warren G. Harding High School. He has described his childhood as an unhappy one, with an abusive, racist father and a passive, alcoholic mother. He attended Wesleyan University, and then served as an Ensign in the Navy during World War II for three and a half years. He earned his A.B. in philosophy from Kenyon College in 1947 where he graduated magna cum laude. From there he entered Cornell University as a Susan Linn Fellow in philosophy and by 1954 had earned his PhD in that subject. His dissertation, "A Philosophical Investigation of Metaphor," was based on his training as a philosopher of language.

Gass taught at The College of Wooster for four years, Purdue University for sixteen, and Washington University in St. Louis, where he was a professor of philosophy (1969–1978) and the David May Distinguished University Professor in the Humanities (1979–1999). Since 2000, Gass has been the David May Distinguished University Professor Emeritus in the Humanities. In 1990, Gass founded the International Writers Center at Washington University, whose purpose was to "build on the strengths of its resident and visiting faculty writers; to serve as a focal point for writing excellence in all disciplines and in all cultures; to be a directory for writers and writing programs at Washington University, in St. Louis, in the United States, and around the world; and to present the writer to the reader."

Gass’ first novel, Omensetter's Luck, about life in a small town in Ohio in the 1890s, was published in 1966. Critics praised his linguistic virtuosity, establishing him as an important writer of fiction. In 1968, he published In the Heart of the Heart of the Country, five stories dramatizing the theme of human isolation and the difficulty of love. That same year Gass published Willie Masters' Lonesome Wife, an experimental novella illustrated with photographs and typographical constructs intended to help readers free themselves from the linear conventions of narrative. He has also published several collections of essays, including Fiction and the Figures of Life (1970) and Finding a Form (1996). Despite his prolific output, he has said that writing is difficult for him. In fact, his epic novel The Tunnel, published in 1995, took Gass twenty-six years to write.

Gass received many awards and honors, including grants from the Rockefeller Foundation in 1965, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in 1970. He won the Pushcart Prize awards in 1976, 1983, 1987, and 1992, and in 1994 he received the Mark Twain Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Literature of the Midwest. In 1975, he received the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Fiction and the American Book Award for The Tunnel in 1997. In 2000, he was honored with the PEN/Nabokov award and the PEN/Nabokov Lifetime Achievement award which he has called his "most prized prize." Gass has received the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism three times, for Habitations of the Word (1985), Finding a Form (1997) and Tests of Time (2003).

Method of Acquisition

Accession number MSS2022-004. Purchase from Lawrence Levy, March 1, 2022.

Related Materials

See also MS051 William H. Gass Papers

Processing Information

Processed by Sarah Schnuriger, August 2022.

Title
Lawrence Levy Collection
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
eng

Collecting Area Details

Part of the Manuscripts Collecting Area

Contact:
Joel Minor
Olin Library, 1 Brookings Drive
MSC 1061-141-B
St. Louis MO 63130 US
(314) 935-5495