conform! (punctuationwise)

critics are so conformist that the least unusuality      even of mere
punctuation      gets struck at like a rattlesnake

(yes i know youve heard all about conformity madisonavenue & indi-
viduality & you dont want to read another word about topics stale
usedup & newly unfashionable       which means: youve been conned
again!      when an idea starts to look dangerous to Them they destroy
it with the novelty trick       they grab onto it themselves & write it up
everywhere & everyphonyway       until you get sick of it, the novelty
wears off, the ideas not dangerous but passe & meantime the right
people have made plenty money out of it      especially compared to
what theyd make if they wrote about their own ideas      but ideas
arent like hats       1 fashions not replaceable by another except among
the fashionable timekillers      "conformism"s just as important before
during & after the henry luce boys get the hots for it)

the critics know not how to stop those mad fools who      hidden off in
a corner somewhere      make weird offensive experiments with punc-
tuation       critics set up the barricade at the entrance to the mass
market, ie their own reviews

youd think 30 years after ulysses they could stand for dashes used in
dialog      but no:

an "experimental" flavor which requires such things as dashes
instead of quotation marks (hartman)
at 1st an innovation is absurd unnecessary, used just to show off      if
it takes root its "experimental"      if its growing, claim the noveltys
worn off, its passe      if it takes over, languish for the good old days.
purpose of the barricade: to keep english usage exactly as it is until it
withers       distinguished sciencefiction hack & reviewer simak says:
  To compound the entire situation, the author does not believe in
quotation marks. He is not new or alone in this, but while other
writers who have avoided quotation marks as a mark of fuddy-
duddyism have been careful to indicate where the marks would
have been, Gaddis treats this matter of mechanics with the same
high disdain as he does the matter of clarity in other respects.
not true!      theres not one para in the recognitions where its not clear
whats dialog & what isnt      the dash is looser less efficient than
quotemarks cause theres no closing dash & contentdevices must be
used to separate conversation from narrative that follows it in the
same para       but writings not engineering & the most efficient techni-
cal device isnt always the best one      dealing with the "unnecessary"
formal problem of talk-narrative border enriches the book      (since it
can be dealt with, & more than dealt with, in so many ways)

the recognitions also menaces linguistic stagnation by use of a great
deal of ellipsis in dialog      i havent seen this used before for the
same purposes      startling result, the dots make it possible to charac-
terize in new sharp ways      the critics react not to the function but
merely to the novelty      angrily:

lapses into insulting half-finished sentences (north)
or psychosomaticly:
endless portentous gasping conversations which read as though
the author had his thumb on the windpipe of each speaker (swados)
the dialogs not like that at all      north snorts, swados chokes because
the characters dont always get neatly to the end of their sentences
like in most novels, nor do the sentences necessarily end as the char-
acters planned

the same panic & reactive anger underlie highet's more selfcontrolled

he makes several of his chief personages so incoherent that their
speeches are often incomplete; he is the master of...of the...the
very funny!      to smash the "experimental" without exposing fear &
rage, if Authority has no access to impersonal punitive action they try
  Is "The Recognitions" supposed to be an honest novel because it
has no quotation marks? (powell)
highets "incoherent" is wrong      wyatt has more dots than anyone &
is the most coherent character in the book      he always has some-
thing definite he must say & he says it      niggling about dots doesnt
change that fact

after reading section ii of the recognitions try the earlier draft printed
in new world writing       it has less dots, as a result wyatt is much less
sharply defined & his conversation is much less "there"