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
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
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 Brown...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
The principal characters in Gaddis...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
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
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
"Recognizing Gaddis" by Louis Auchincloss, 15 November 1987
Gaddis resources, lots o' links assembled by biblioklept. Included is a (rare) video interview with Mr Gaddis by Malcolm Bradbury.
Paris Review interview:
For example, in reading Tolstoy, you cannot help but get a sense of who he was as a thinker.
The mind of Gaddis was both immense and disciplined.
This is not a pleasant book, though there are some funny turns of phrase and amusing situations.
Mostly, it is a complex long poem.
Some parts made me think I was reading a T.S. Eliot poem.
Lots of work to read, you must slow down, at least I had to slow down.
Very rewarding, and every slow hour was well-spent.
- But... you see… Look, I don’t suppose it’s too much to ask to identify your unlikable characters by name when they enter scenes…
-It is physically impossible for pigs to look up at the sky. What does that...more
Here's a section from The Compete Review that describes the novel much better than myself:
7JUL11. Slow going, as to be expected for readers like me who have at least as much fun looking up references and vocabulary as we do learning about characters. (Steven Moore's annotations are immeasurably helpful!) I think the name of the game here is not to set a deadline by which to finish (a bad habit of mine anyway) but to realize that this book wi...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
Labyrinthine--there's a word. It gets applied to books like these (Ulysses, Infinite Jest, Gravity's Rainbow, to name an obvious few) a lot, and in most cases could probably be replaced by needlessly obtuse. Overly difficult, maybe? Yes, those are probably...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
"--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
The value of difficulty in modernist literature is hard for me to appreciate, but this book, while not at the level of Finnegans Wake, certainly embraces that value. To give one example, the endless dialogues where it is impossible to discern who is talking are just boring.
However, I ga...more
What I understood was brilliant, what I didn't understand is most likely obscene. This is not a novel for the casual beach read, although as I write this, I am on a beach...washing sand out of my ebbs and salt off my flow, so never mind.
|The BURIED Book Club: The Recognitions||1||17||Mar 10, 2013 11:05am|
|The Bookworms of RVA: Winter Long Read: The Recognitions||12||20||Jan 11, 2013 11:29am|
|Brain Pain: Discussion - Week Three - The Recognitions - Part II, Chap. 1 & 2||14||31||Oct 15, 2012 01:35pm|
|Brain Pain: Discussion - Week Nine - The Recognitions - Conclusions/Book as a Whole||10||40||Jun 17, 2012 02:18pm|
|Brain Pain: * Questions, Resources, and General Banter - The Recognitions||123||80||Jun 14, 2012 10:30am|
|Brain Pain: Discussion - Week Seven - The Recognitions - Part III, Chapter 1, 2, 3, & 4||7||25||Jun 03, 2012 05:29am|
|Brain Pain: Discussion - Week Eight - The Recognitions - Part III, Chapter 5 & 6||5||23||Jun 01, 2012 05:51am|