negative cliche: "just everybody"|
hartmans Big Lie, that the recognitions is only absolute negation,
against only everything
snyder sees it isnt:
It does not say that everything is phony and that all artists are
but others grab the chance to exaggerate:
forgers, but it does show clearly that many people prefer the
imitation to the original in art.
GADDIS' real intent, however, after forcing things and people into
would she say "positive bias"?
bass has the true frightened spite:
alternative strait jackets, is to equate everything with the bad
Mr. Gaddis seems to be saying that there is nothing good, true or
beautiful in modern life, but his view of modern life is too restricted
to be meaningful. (burnette)
Obviously, Mr. Gaddis is angry at fakeryreligious,
indeed one is inclined to suspect that he regards all of western
culture (which he has apparently made an enormous effort to
assimilate) as one huge fraud. (swados)
If you have a mind as brilliant and depraved as that of the author of
this novel you can make all love, all learning, all science, all art and
all religion counterfeit. (north)
"The Recognitions" presents life as a huge forgery (morse)
We have lost everything, Gaddis seems to say, and so we are all
lost! He sees no virtue in anything (smith)
life in the twentieth century, viewed with negative bias against a
backdrop of our whole cultural history and adjudged a tissue of lies
and pretense at all levels of society and of perception. (dawedeit)
Why has Mr. Gaddis taken such pains to detail the doings of
FIRE jackson for building his review on this lie:
these forgers and the recognitions of these doings? He is obviously
disgusted with the modern world and its phonies and its jerks and
its advertising men and its rich people and its poor people and just
everybody. He takes a smack at everything and everybody in the
manner of Eliot and Joyce and Cummings, but they do it much
better and much, much shorter.
what the author is after is not so much to tell a direct, clear story as
jackson "balances" with 1 weight
the concession he just made he
to show the reader in his own special mirror that today's world (so
runs the author's belief) is uniformly corrupt, venal, silly, frequently
evil, and everlastingly at least half-fake.
Now, of course it would be futile to debate this with Mr. Gaddis.
The novelist is privileged to select the segment of life he wants to
illuminate and to say what he wants about iteven to declare that
his picture is the whole picture.
indiangivingits a good way to pad a review
To return to the author's reflection of a world, well, it was Edmund
but jackson is sure gaddis does not know it:
Burke who admitted he didn't know how to draw up an indictment
against a whole people, and Mr. Gaddis is in the same predicament,
except that one is by no means sure he knows it as Burke did.
against one segment of our society has truth,
wyatt's "People" means, flatly, of course, & obviously, "most people".
force, a vicious bite often. In essence, it says, as one of his charac-
ters puts it, "People react. That's all they do now, react; they've
reacted until it's the only thing they can do, and finally there's no
room for anyone to do anything but react."
This is a true-bill, within the limits of the special segment of
society the author studies. It is true, even, to some extent beyond
those limits. But the catch is in the word "people," and therefore in
the statement his whole novel makes. This means, flatly, "all
people," and it won't do. As Burke knew, there is no method of
indicting everybody. The attempt is bound to fall of its ownin this
not "all people" see p143
the recognitions taken as indictment
indicts "most people"
its hartmans lie again, a refuge for phonies
who can hide behind "we cant all be phony"
the time hack or hack pack
sets up a shocking gaddisview so
he can cut it down to size as patriotism demands:
As Author Gaddis sees it, the 20th century U.S. is a soggy butt
(would time have praised the very 1st unamerican for his "originality"?)
end of western civilization, an age of publicity and duplicity in which
the phonies have inherited the earth. Pronouncing a scarcely
original, but nevertheless grandiose, anathema
cut down to size by projection, the time hacks frivolous with his phony
phrase "literary specialists in damnation" so "Author Gaddis" must be
But Author Gaddis also intends The Recognitions as a spiritual
gaddis novel can hardly be classified as just another expose of the
rebuke ("I wonder, when I step out of doors, how the past can
tolerate us"). Unfortunately, the best he can do for a symbol of evil
is to trade in Melville's white whale for Manhattan's Madison
Avenue. Like other literary specialists in damnation, William Gaddis
has held a seashell to his ear and convinced himself that just about
all humanity is drowning.
but time classifies on, its "books" section should be re-
named "literary fashions"
its job: supplying cocktail chitchat to the
1the recognitions 143