Authors who subscribe to the "Status model" embrace fiction as the springboard for "a discourse of genius and art-historical importance" freed from the demands of the marketplace or the requirements of mass consumption. Yet even Franzen acknowledges the toll exacted by this particular masterpiece. He declares that The Recognitions is "the most difficult book I ever voluntarily read in its entirety," adding that he completed the task "as a kind of penance. So how did this Joyce story get started? Well, I suspect this goes back to reviewers who judged the novel on its jacket blurb. Joyce scholar Stuart Gilbert offered praise for The Recognitions on the back cover of the first edition, and for those who, contrary to the wise adage, judge books by their back cover, this served as proof positive of influence.
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He continued in private school until the eighth grade, after which he returned to Long Island to receive his diploma at Farmingdale High School in He entered Harvard in where he was a member of the Harvard Lampoon where he eventually served as President , but was asked to leave in due to an altercation with police. His first novel, The Recognitions, appeared in A lengthy, complex, and allusive work, it had to wait to find its audience.
Newspaper reviewers considered it overly intellectual, overwritten, and perhaps on the principle of omne ignotum per obscaenum "all that is unknown appears obscene" , filthy. The book was defended by Jack Green in a series of broadsheets blasting the critics; the series was collected later under the title Fire the Bastards! Gaddis then turned to public relations work and the making of documentary films to support himself and his family.
He also received a National Institute of Arts and Letters grant, a Rockefeller grant , and two National Endowment for the Arts grants, all of which helped him write his second novel.
In he published J R , told almost entirely in unattributed dialogue. Its eponymous protagonist, an year-old, learns enough about the stock market from a class field trip to build a financial empire of his own.
Critical opinion had caught up with him, and the book won the National Book Award for Fiction. By the late s, Gaddis had entered into a relationship with Muriel Oxenberg Murphy, and they lived together until the mids. The continual litigation that was a theme in that book becomes the central theme and plot device in A Frolic of His Own —which earned him his second National Book Award  and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction.
Legacy and influence[ edit ] Among fans of post-modern fiction, Gaddis is often acknowledged as being one of the greatest of American post-war novelists. DeLillo was a friend of Gaddis.
Shelves: favourite-books This book has me in its grip. One feels a little lost at times, but there are familiar sights. Can we trust our guide? Gaddis gives you the sense he knows the way
[PDF] The Recognitions Book by William Gaddis Free Download (976 pages)
Index Preface to Revised Edition Fifteen years have passed since the first edition of this book was published University of Nebraska Press, , and during those years I have been gathering materials for what I hoped would be a second edition. Gaddis himself wrote me a long letter clarifying many points, though his remarks, he said, were "not exhaustive. For this edition, I have focused solely on the annotations. Gone are the introduction and appendices to the first edition, and the plot synopsis has been broken up and scattered to introduce each chapter. Many of the sources I originally cited were later, revised editions Love in the Western World, Psychology and Alchemy, The White Goddess , which I thought would be more accessible to Gaddis scholars, but I have changed those to refer to the editions Gaddis actually used. Gone too are the cross-references to the Avon edition of The Recognitions, which in was the only edition available. Thankfully, a corrected Penguin edition seems to be here to stay, so all references are to that edition.