Gass's latest novel Middle C was originally envisioned as a novella (the second among three), but as he published it in sections over the years it turned into a full-length novel. Gass’s first novel since 1995’s The Tunnel, Middle C is garnering widespread attention and praise from readers and critics alike. The story centers on the changing and elusive nature of identity in the main character--a character who struggles with purpose and guilt, not only in himself but in all of humanity.
Middle C was only recently published in March 2013, but the William Gass Papers already contain early published excerpts and printout notes. One of these sections, "The Apocalypse Museum," is included here. The uncorrected proof of the book is also available in the Gass Papers. On loan from Gass and shown here, though not in its entirety, is an early chapter-by-chapter outline that Gass created for his editor. He asked us to stress that this outline does not reflect the final version of the book.
On April 2, 2013 the Special Collections hosted a reading, reception, book signing and exhibition opening. Gass read excerpts from Middle C, and the beginning of this section is featured in the video clip below. You can watch the reading in its entirety on the Modern Literature Collection's YouTube channel.