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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 Brow...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
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
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
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
-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
"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
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
La religione che vince e quelle che perdono e non si capisce quale sia l'originale di che cosa; il senso del grottesco per gli ambienti artistici che fanno gli innovativi ma a cui un concetto come "avanguardia" neanche interessa; false perizie che trasformano in originali le opere false di quadri originali che spariscono e poi vengono giudicati copie...more
|A long deep read to last a fortnight's holiday?||4||18||Oct 24, 2013 06:27PM|
|Brain Pain: Discussion - Week Four - The Recognitions - Part II, Chap. 3 & 4||12||43||Jun 16, 2013 02:57AM|
|The BURIED Book Club: The Recognitions||1||29||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||11||35||Oct 15, 2012 01:35PM|
|Brain Pain: Discussion - Week Nine - The Recognitions - Conclusions/Book as a Whole||10||42||Jun 17, 2012 02:18PM|
|Brain Pain: * Questions, Resources, and General Banter - The Recognitions||122||88||Jun 14, 2012 10:30AM|