after the 1st round

in the years after the 55 reviews there were some more mentions of
the recognitions, mostly favorable       w g rogers twice more (4/55:
new world writing "may sometime have reason to be proudest of
having printed a chapter from William Gaddis' extraordinary novel".
12/18/55: "Gaddis' overpowering first novel")

in the saturday review spring fiction poll the recognitions got a surpris-
ing 4 votes (bradley, a d emmart of the baltimore sun, carl victor little
of the houston press, yeiser) tying for 3d place 1      & in the years-best
poll 2 votes (emmart, yeiser) tying for 4th place      (note in a poll there
are no votes against)

newsweeks yearend sumup found gaddis book "too experimental in
style to compete" (in sales) with other long books such as kantor's
andersonville (which won the 2d saturday review poll with 14 votes).
time's survey was 1st to criticize the critics, tho inaccurately ("Some
critics uneasily and unjustly ignored it")

john w aldridge (in search of heresy) attacked the critics intelligently,
using gaddis novel & harrington's the revelations of doctor modesto as

in 1957 anthony west listed the recognitions as 1 of 25 great books
from world literature ("the most interesting and remarkable novel
written by a young American in the last twenty-five years. It will one
day take a place in classic American literature beside the work of
Thomas Wolfe as an expression of the developing American spirit")

1958: gerald walker ("often obscure but always brilliant") in a ny times
review of another novel       1959: eugene mcnamara ("packed with
truth so real as to punch the breath out of one") in the critic      gilbert
highet, whose original review called it "a pity that" gaddis "spiritual
conflicts have apparently been too intense to allow him to produce a
truly effective work of art" improved his opinion a la hicks, shelving the
book where his "few private novels crouch and look up hopefully, like
delicate animals caught in a burning forest, or else sail gallantly away,
on wings of courage and imagination, into the past from which they
came"!      what an ass      1960: charles monaghan in commonweal
listed the recognitions among "some of the finest writing of recent
times"       1962: mcnamara again discussed gaddis, as 1 of 4 american
writers seeming to him "to be creating works which are original in a
radical sense"

in 7 years, not much action      for "gaddis underground" work in these
years a coup by david markson was unsurpassed & indeed unsurpass-
able       his epitaph for a tramp came out as a 25c paperback original
in 1959      its a privateeye potboiler—the worst      on p27-8 he works
in some gaddisian "forged conversation" at a bar, with an in-joke about
"willie"       i should explain that at this point the eye is trailing the
"tramp," ie his wife       he finds her naked on the bed of a college kids
pad in greenwich village       he orders the kid into the toilet & tells off
his wife       while he waits for her to dress some description is called
for, what such an apt looks like, stolen noparking sign, label on
expensive jacket dad paid for, sheet of paper in typewriter—inter-
rupted essay for comparative lit—on it the kid has typed:

And thus it is my conclusion that The Recognitions by William
Gaddis is not merely the best American first novel of our time, but
perhaps the most significant single volume in all American fiction
Moby Dick, a book so broad in scope, so rich in comedy and
so profound in symbolic inference that

1raymond walters jr       prefacing & rejoicing as "Fiction Makes a Comeback"
      remarked of the fiction books voted for that "while none of them is likely to
make Hemingway or Faulkner look to his laurels, they offer rewarding reading for
the spring months ahead" (Back)