the 1st novel cliche

harvey swados disposes of this cliche in the living novel (171):

  I have myself done considerable reviewing of fiction, and can
recall without difficulty a substantial group of first novels of the past
few years which were in no way sentimental portraits of the artists
as young men.
lists 1st novels by gold styron klein becker pawel malamud baldwin
gaddis & adds (172):
in not one case do they correspond in intention or execution to the
absurd conception of the American first novel as an adolescent
portrait of adolescence.
all the less reason for swados       reviewing the recognitions in the
hudson review       to have postscripted a series of sarcastic blows
below the belt with the old 1st novel chestnut:
I look forward with eager curiosity to see what he does next.
(however, theres also a 2d novel cliche by which all 2d novels are "dis-
appointing" & dont "live up to the promise" of the 1st)      price's
insight is better:
it would be futile for the reviewer to rely upon a cliche and remark
that "Gaddis, with his first novel, shows promise," for Gaddis has
arrived, and he must be accepted—or rejected—for what he is and
for what he says.
the critics can hardly say gaddis is a "young idealist" (with a headful of
foolish dreams) so hes a "young cynic" (he'll get over it):
Gaddis is a cynic but he's young. (desbarats)

Mr. Gaddis shows all the young cynic's naïveté (hill)

And Cynical (stevens headline1)

the central attitude of the recognitions is not in fact cynical      still:
For Mr. Gaddis (who, by the way, began this book eight years ago,
when he was about twenty-five years old) sees ours as literally a
society of forgeries, counterfeits, plagiarisms and fakes. (rugoff
my italics)
he'll get over it!

all 1st novels are by definition autobiographical, therefore:

  The Recognitions is a non-literal novel, yet beneath its symbolism
I detect a note of autobiography. The protagonist, Wyatt Gwyon, is a
parson's son who has studied for the ministry and who has become
by turns artist, commercial draftsman and forger of old master-
pieces. I do not suggest that this is a literal account of Mr. Gaddis'
career, or that he has in his family tree anyone like the Rev. Gwyon,
who went mad and sacrificed a bull on Christmas Day and tried to
introduce his staid New England congregation to Mithra-worship. A
similarity of background, however, would explain the author's pre-
occupations. (o'hearn)
which implies      however cagily      that wyatt is gaddis      otherwise,
since in a sense of course every character comes out of its author,
the para need not have been written       even more stupid guess:
the character Otto, a self-conscious young playwright for whom
Gaddis himself may have posed (dawedeit)
the vanity of time and the recognitions by the same person!      why
not guess stanley, anselm, valentine, recktall brown?      the joke on
the autobiographical clicheteers is that gaddis does appear in the
—as "willie," a comic minor character      whose role,
naturally, is to get off alltoowellprepared witticisms only to find no one
is listening:
  —Philogyny? I thought you said phylogeny.
  —I said, misogyny recapitulates philogyny.
  —Never mind.
  —What's the name of this book you're writing?
  —Baekeker's Babel.
  Noting only the striped tie on the taller of these two, Otto brought
the handkerchief up again, and got by them.
  —And you say you've become a misologist?
(p475       takeoff on haeckel's "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny."
misogyny: hatred of women       philogyny: love of women      misogamy:
hatred of marriage       misology: hatred of rational discussion or
philosophy)       "Baedeker's Babel" is the recognitions (see p372-3,
936-7)       when last seen willie is working for a tv studio:
The long bare corridor was brightly lighted and empty, until a young
man with a thin face, a slightly crooked nose, and a weary expres-
sion which embraced his whole appearance, passed them. —There,
there's the guy who was working on this, he's one of the writers.
Hey, Willie...But the weary figure went on. He was carrying two
books, one titled, The Destruction of the Philosophers, the other,
The Destruction of the Destruction. He rounded a corner away from
them muttering, —Christ. Christ, Christ, Christ, Christ, Christ.
(p734       an example of "timegrowth" & postreading shock of recogni-
tion, when i read this passage i assumed the 2 booktitles were
humorous inventions       this year, proofreading a not too fascinating
bibliography of medieval philosophy, the 2 titles jumped to my eyes.
The 1st is by algazel, an arab moslem c 1100 ad      it attempts to
refute doctrines of philosophers (aristotle & avicenna) opposed to
koran      the 2nd is by averroes, to refute the 1st      so after 7 yrs willie
as negativist (or "positive negativist") becomes also misologist andor

when a "long" novels also a "1st" novel the critics must leap to—

1other vulgarity prizes to headlinewriters for livingston, price, corrington:

Hefty Novel Hits Negative Note

First Novel Sure to Stir Up Storm;
Assails All Phases of Civilization

Mammoth Novel by William Gaddis Bemoans
Modern Man's Insatiable Lust for Fakery (Back)