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Gaddis takes a more nuanced approach to this. Wyatt can arguably be seen either in the Joycean archetype or in its complete antithesis. As a Joycean character, he is, as he puts it, "aware of his materials," and therefore better understands the masters and the history of his craft than anyone else. Page 229 is the beginning of a string of important pages -- the idea of "modern genius":
Brown looked up through the thick lenses. -- It damn near is genius.
-- Talent often is, if frustrated long enough. Today at any rate, most of what we call genius around us is simply warped talent.
To Gaddis, and to Joyce, "genius" is a connection to the past -- not a modern striving towards originality, but acceptance of past methods and progress. In the opposite sense, Gaddis also seems interested in how a connection to the past removes one from the present and future. The "masquerade" is the recurring situation of artistic removal. Even the opening line presents this thesis: "Even camilla had enjoyed [them], of the safe sort where the mask may be dropped at the critical moment when it presumes itself as reality." The masque, as seen in the party chapters, is the idea of forging the basic construction of the human soul, the face and eyes -- a common subject of Wyatt's.
And thus the superficial and modern, such as Esme, fear mirrors:
-- Mirrors dominate the people. They tell your face how to grow.
As they show reality, and drop the mask. Stephen Dedalus would gladly drop the mask and face reality -- but Wyatt has no option. He knows reality, and chooses to forge it -- those with the masques are already in a state of forgery, and as one of the few outside of the party, he is able to peer in and present forgeries accordingly. The masked prefer originality; those in reality prefer forgery:
-- Originality is a device that untalented [masked] people use to impress other untalented [masked] people, and protect themselves from talented people [Wyatt's kind].
-- Most original people are forced to devote all their time to forgery.
Plagiarism is an acceptance and a supine laying towards the past. Those with that extra sense of consciousness are shoveled into using it against the unlearned and untalented. It is the separation of interest in the world and interest in the unimportant.
Hope this helps.(less)
This book has me in its grip.
Reading The Recognitions is like wandering in a labyrinth, and around each corner there's a new revelation. 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...until he lets go of your hand...and pushes you into the darkness saying, dilige et quod vis fac. You must cling to those words, because that's the only thread this Ariadne offers - except for the follow up text message he sends: ...more
Images surround us; cavorting broadcast in the minds of others, we wear the motley tailored by their bad digestions, the shame and failure, plague pandemics and private indecencies, unpaid bills, and animal ecstasies remembered in hospital beds, our worst deeds and best intentions will not stay still, scolding, mocking, or merely chattering they assail each other, shocked at recognition.Shocked, surprised and mesmerized by these Recognitions. Sometimes reading of a book happens without any no ...more
The purpose of both Religion and Alchemy is to realise Perfection.
Christianity places an obstacle in the path: Original Sin. We are born with an Inherent Vice. Nobody will give us assurance.
Our need for meaning and happiness is so great that we fall victim to fraud and pretence.
Gaddis suggests we must love and we must be active, in order to be happy.
We need to construct an undivided Self, a Whole, not a Soul.
There is only the Self that Lives, therefore the Life th ...more
Overlong? Probably. Grandiose? Almost certainly. Brilliant? Most definitely. This swollen, acerbic cult classic bursts with such wild imagination, vivid characterization and profound eloquence that I couldn't help but love it. Its many characters swirl in and out of each other's lives throughout the nearly thousand-page text, their paths and conversations overlapping like a most rambunctious Altman ensemble film (though with Gaddis's relentless and sometimes hallucinatory skewering of organized...more
Robert anglicised himself and veiled his roots. Zimmerman changed to Dylan...
What is Authenticity then?
The dictionary definition is: true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character.
The Recognitions is many things, but ultimately, it's an artist’s quest of for an authentic self told stylistically through satire and the exploration of forgery, on all levels.
Wyatt Gwyon is an artist, who after meeting a rather dubious character with a fabulously dubious name, Rektall Brow ...more
"It rained; then it snowed, and the snow stayed on the paved ground for long enough to become evenly blacked with soot and smoke-fall, evenly but for islands of yellow left by uptown dogs. Then it rained again, and the whole creation was transformed into cold slop, which made walking adventuresome. Then it froze; and every corner presented opportunity for entertainment, the vastly amusing spectacle of well-dressed people suspended in the indecorous positi ...more
The principal characters in Gaddis ...more
and be done with it. Something tells me, though, that a simple “squee” would not be good enough for certain friends of mine. There is also the temptation to steal someone else’s review and pass it off as my own, fitting with the themes of the novel. But I won’t do that, either. It would be cl ...more
And you know what? It's pretty good. Definitely a work of genius, extremely well put together, chock-full of symbolism and flattish characters and all sorts of other pomo English-majory stuff. Endless riffs on frau ...more
I want to tell what I mean, what my truth is, without fearing what came out is not what I meant, without hoping what came out sounde ...more
This is not a book that you can pick up and casually read; it demands work of the reader. However erudite or well read you are you will not get all the references because they ...more
And then they silenced, each bending forth, closer and closer, to
fix the book the other was carrying with a look of myopic recognition.
—You reading that? both asked at o ...more
Hieronymus Bosch, Christ Carrying the Cross (1515-1516)
The Recognitions reveals a hellscape, where, flipping Hippo's Bishop, "good, exposed passive and foolish at the lifting of chaos, is the absence of evil". Disease, somatic and psychotic, wreaks the characters; buildings collapse and burn; words are cutoff, misinterpreted, parroted back and forth between posturing late hipsters or early beats.
-Chavenet. It really doesn't mean anything, but it's familiar to everybody if you say it quickly. Th ...more
-Caligula's Rome, with a new circus of vulgar bestialized suffering in the newspapers every morning. The masses, the fetid masses, he says, bringing all his weight to his feet.-How can they even suspect a self who can do more, when they live under absolutely no obligation. There are so few beautiful things in the world.
Such higher machinations proved beyond me. So much was required. Too often I was found wanting. The Recognitions is a ...more
LITERARY STOCKHOLM SYNDROME
by Mark O'Connell which uses The Recognitions as its main example - here is the bit I liked, but the whole article is worth a read (http://www.themillions.com/2011/05/th...)
the greatness of a novel in the mind of its readers is often alloyed with those readers’ sense of their own greatness (as readers) for having conquered it. I don’t think William Gaddis’s The Recognitions, for instance, is nearly as fantastic a novel as people often claim it ...more
The noncorporeal he ...more
More important t ...more
That day was today. On April 13, 2014, I finished the goddamn Recognitions. Out of all the books I've had to abandon, there are ...more
This thing sat on my shelf for almost 20 years before I read it. I was intimidated by it, but I also wasn't too turned on by sections I would occassionally read. So it took me 20 years to recognize how wonderful it is. And what's strange is that it was a Recognition.
I read somewhere that Haro ...more
This guy was wrong though, of course. I am the Ideal Reader, and so are You. We, the few perhaps, but the happy ...more
Of course: I was 19 when I read the thing, so maybe this book was just adolescence's departing revenge upon succumbing to pseudo-adulthood.
Still, ten years later, even though I haven't read it since, certain scenes and moments reverberate, call themselves back. I'll forever take ...more
"--Reading it? Christ no, what do you think I am? I just been having trouble sleeping, so my analyst told me to get a book and count the letters, so I just went in and asked them for the thickest book in the place and they sold me this damned thing, he muttered looking at the book with intimate dislike.--I'm up to a hundred and t ...more
Some old odd stuff that you need not know ::
(view spoiler)[Is this the Auchincloss who has received some recent interest here on goodreads?
"Recognizing Gaddis" by Louis Auchincloss, 15 November 1987
Gaddis resources, lots o' links assembled by biblioklept. Included ...more
That being said, I loved reading this. I loved the challenge of it. I will adm ...more
|Brain Pain: * Questions, Resources, and General Banter - The Recognitions||123||125||Dec 03, 2014 02:49PM|
|A long deep read to last a fortnight's holiday?||4||37||Oct 24, 2013 06:27PM|
|Brain Pain: Discussion - Week Four - The Recognitions - Part II, Chap. 3 & 4||12||55||Jun 16, 2013 02:57AM|
|The BURIED Book Club: The Recognitions||1||38||Mar 10, 2013 11:05AM|
|The Bookworms of RVA: Winter Long Read: The Recognitions||12||29||Jan 11, 2013 11:29AM|
|Brain Pain: Discussion - Week Three - The Recognitions - Part II, Chap. 1 & 2||11||41||Oct 15, 2012 01:35PM|
|Brain Pain: Discussion - Week Nine - The Recognitions - Conclusions/Book as a Whole||10||47||Jun 17, 2012 02:18PM|