On Being Blue
- On Being Blue
- 91 pages
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Sep 22, 2019
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When I arrived on my first year at University, we were given a copy of The Blue Book sometime during our first week. It seemed that the academic authorities did not think that this group of young men and women, in spite of having been selected for a supposedly brilliant intellectual future, really knew what they had in their bodies, nor could they read their own instincts. But it had graphics. We all kept this Blue Book half hidden amongst all the other books although we had the reassuring knowl [...]
Blue lipsBlue veinsBlue, the color of the planet from far, far away( verse from the single-Blue Lips)At the risk of sounding corny to the extent of being doltish; the moment I boarded on Gass’s cerulean expedition, a mystifying songstress, a certain Ms. Regina Spektor was awaiting for my arrival. In the course of her repeatedly looped melodious rendition, what Ms. Spektor was trying to elucidate to my conflicted mind was the enchantment of the colour:- Blue. The symbolic “blue lips” signif [...]
This sort of filth has no place on a book review site which could be viewed by children. The explicit obscenities that bloat this seemingly innocuous pamphlet could have no purpose other than to corrode the virtue of readers by attempting to elevate their most base and craven lusts to the sphere of fine aesthetics.William H. Gass is an unctuous smut-peddler whose greasy grammar all but slithers across the page and up the skirts of innocent texts in his attempt to befoul all that is right and pur [...]
So it's true: Being without Being is blue.First time rated a book before finishing it and that too with 5 stars. Gass is Good.
Remember in Moby Dick where Melville goes on long tangents about the color white and whale anatomy? Gass is doing just that here, except with the color blue and fucking.
“Yellow cannot readily ingest gray. It clamors for white. But blue will swallow black like a bell swallows silence ‘to echo a grief that is hardly human.’ Because blue contracts, retreats, it is the colour of transcendence, leading us away in pursuit of the infinite.” On second thoughts, I think this book deserves 5 stars.It consists of an amazing few chapters that examines the colour blue in everyday life, literature etc. It's quite amazing how thorough Gass is in talking about this col [...]
On Being Blue has been composed by Michael & Winifred Bixler. The typeface is Monotype Dante, designed by the arch-typographer Giovanni Mardersteig, cut in its original version by the skilled punchcutter Charles Malin and first used in 1954. The mechanical recutting by the Monotype Corporation of this strong and elegant Renaissance design preserves the liveliness, personality, and dignity of the original. The second printing has been printed offset by Mercantile Printing Company on Ticondero [...]
Under no set of circumstances would I agree to write an introduction for this essay-panegyric to the color blue and, let's admit it, to the thought/act sex ; under no set of circumstances would I want my prose to be set directly next to that of William Gass. Michael Gorra was a fool.From the initial page-long sentence, followed by two short, percussive sentences, and then, the rhythmic cramp easing, by a more expansive sentence, and then another yet more expansive, On Being Blue announces itself [...]
Gass's love of words so sincerely, beautifully and artfully expressed here in his philosophical approach to colour, language and literature. These essays he writes these layers of thought expressed in the most conscious expanding articulation are profoundly moving and awe inspiring in style and prose. Another Gass essay to elevate my future reading experiences through altered and enhanced perception.
" is our talisman, the center of our thought."In real life were someone to ask you an innocuous question like: "So what's your favourite colour?", could you launch into a virtuoso performance of extracting every nuance, every flavour, every fragrance out of that colour & in the celebratory process fill it with more of these?Forget it, cause you are not William H. Gass – you can never be him.I'm glad that's out of the way 'cause Blue is one of my favourite colours & Gass just made me ap [...]
How did I get here?All I wanted to do was read The Tunnel. But the ebook is unavailable and I did not want to spend 5000 12,000 bucks on a book that I am pretty sure I won't understand. That's how I ended up picking up this little one by Gass instead. Hadrian's review pretty much sums it up.Absolutely loved it. The author's thoughts are scattered and I'm sure I missed a lot of the references, but I highlighted the shit out of every page. I want to read everything written by himmeone please gift [...]
Leant a little on the opaque bloviating side of Herr Gass’s repertoire. Otherwise > approved.
Beware of HagiographyWhen an author is regarded as a master of the sentence, it's tempting to approach all of their works with the expectation that every single sentence will be equally masterful. In Gass' own words, we're prone to "plait flowers in [our] hero's pubic hair."However, while a poem might strive to achieve this demanding standard, it's much more difficult for prose, whether fiction or not, to maintain it."On Being Blue” is divided into four parts. In the first half of part III, I [...]
Having only read Gass' short essays on literature and In the Heart of the Heart of the Country, I'd always assumed that the old Gass-bag's mind was fatally split, and that he saved all his best language play for his fiction in order to keep his logic-knife sharp for his essays. I loved both sides of this bifurcated brain, of course, but sometimes I wished that old Gass-Knuckles would pull it together and write some sort of delicate fusion of lyricism and analytical prose, some triumphant synthes [...]
Consider my mind well fucked and blown. William H. Gass understands language and literature like someone who’s immortal, who’s been studying literature since Plato was around, Gass takes words strings them together creates something grand, that is beyond what you think words can be and should do, I fear I’m too dumb to understand what “On Being Blue” means or rather it’s impossible for me to put into words what this book is about. Blue as, the cover of Infinte Jest, or gym shorts tha [...]
On Being Blue: A Philosophical Inquiry by William H. Gass is, well, a very innovative and enlightening piece of work. Mr. Gass redefines Philosophical Inquiry and in the process shames his equivalents. Actually, it is not a mere Philosophical Inquiry, it's also with a touch of Linguistic Analysis, a smear of Satirical Extravaganza, and a fine dose of the grandest prose. One can clearly see the genius that he is, based alone on his sentence construction. This book is worth reading just for the wo [...]
As always, Billie G. writes next to nothing but five-star sentences, and On Being Blue has plenty of syntactical heartthrobbers ornamentally arranged throughout its slender page count. Gass seeks to do as he always does in his works, and that is to champion the melodious possibilities of the sentence. This book is at its best when Gass poetically ponders on the usage and intended/unintended meanings of dirty words, and how dirty words need to be more loved by readers and writers so that they can [...]
Please excuse my French, but reading this book felt like watching Gass trying to impotently force himself onto something he couldn’t see. In the dead of night, in the dead of all colour.So his victim happened to be the blue of this world. He tried to perform on it all obscene acts one can think of - he tried to rape and then to caress it; he tried to kill and dissect it; he tried to revive and glorify it. I think he just tried to prove to himself how great of a mind he is and blue just happene [...]
I can't be the only one who thought of Tobias Funke when I read the first few pages.OK, got that out of the way.Gass has written a dense and allusive little thing that reminds me, if it reminds me of anything, of the finest aesthetic essays of Susan Sontag, Junichiro Tanizaki, Juhani Pallasmaa, and Elaine Scarry. Only with more fucks. Way more fucks. And I don't mean "fucks given," as the kids are saying these days, but actual penises and vaginas. I'd thought that when he was considering all thi [...]
An inquiry into color in general and blue specifically, with regard to how it relates to perception, emotion, sexuality. Very interesting. It also highlights in part strengths of writing, how subtle good writing can be versus the blunt laziness that characterizes poor writing.
I have a theory, which I may have already expounded somewhere or other, but why not try to refine it?In the aesthetic universe, there is an infinite (nearly*) number of valid aesthetic ideals. There is also a much more infinite number of invalid aesthetics, which could also be described as aesthetic non-ideals. By analogy, one may imagine the stars in an infinite (nearly*) universe, which are yet (nearly*) infinitesimal in the void of interstellar and intergalactic space. OR, by another analogy, [...]
I suspect a lot of the praise this book gets is from people who wish to be seen as Elite Intellectuals.It's boring, pretentious, and at 90 pages, still manages to feel bloated.
This syncretistic world On Being Blue evokes foremost, an eulogy for writing, all-encompassing wholesomeness of writerly vices and virtues. It is also hindsight into the faculty of writers, the true alchemists who do not change lead into gold, but worlds into words, so said William H. Gass. Despite Gassian eluded lyricism, intricate virtuosity and erudite, his thesis probes deep into the literary enclosure and hidden treasures, as to bring to us in full-view of our deep-seated imperfections and [...]
There's no question that Gass has a first-class writing style, equal parts goofy and lyrical. Like Shakespeare, Gass takes boyish pleasure in filling a page with an effervescent mixture of bawdiness and wordplay, gilding it all with a sophistication of style that completely shields him from any potential accusations of being (gasp!) "lowbrow." He has a profound learnedness, a deep and intimate familiarity with English literature, that is rather reminiscent of James Wood. Like Wood, Gass strews h [...]
This book failed me. Having been on the hunt for it for some time, tracing its influence as a seemingly pivotal reference point for other explorative reads (either on art, the erotic, or color), I made the mistake of having high expectations for this book-length essay. Delicious only in parts that transcended the listing of blue things into inspired passages on behavior and connotations of blue and of language itself, the rest of the book fell short. It's hollowness would ring out in pages, at t [...]
The strangest thing happened while I was reading this book. It was chosen by my book club and I had not googled anything about it nor about its author ahead of reading. And yet as I read it I couldn't help but picture the author a certain very particular way and lo and behold! he happens to look exactly like what I imagined: a frumpy uncle type whom you wouldn't want to be in any way lewd in your presence. The kind of guy who finds Henry James' cunnilingus metaphors titillating and who uses phra [...]
Gass's ability to craft language is practically unparalleled in modern letters. He knows the shapes of words, the tumbling rhythms of sentences, the jug jug jug jug jug jug so unrudely forc'd upon the tongue of your mind. To do any justice to his prose, I'd have to quote extensively from it, and wouldn't know where to stop, as paragraph after paragraph build upon each other, elliptically, to form an intricate web of language. So I won't. Just pick up the book yourself - it's only 85 pages, after [...]
The greezy, breezy, oil-painted response to Sontag's call for an erotics of hermeneutics? All about the sexy synesthesia of sentences, almost always expressed alliteratively and more than fine with frequent rhyme. Everything you ever wanted to know about the phrase "fuck a duck"! 91 pages of orange-peeling prose, albeit it "blue" . . .
The "analysis" of the phrase, "Fuck a duck," is worth a read alone.
Come if you love language, literature, lavishly wrought sentences that twist and drift like contrails but mask heady headwinds of incisive inquiry. (Also if you appreciate alliteration).Bah, I can't even pretend to do what Gass does, which is to brilliantly render and tease out a multifaceted theory of language and its many moods and meanings, specifically focusing on the countless applications and interpretations of the word 'blue'. We spend time ruminating on the color itself, blue objects, bl [...]