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The Recognitions (American Literature (Dalkey Archive)) Paperback – 7 Feb 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 956 pages
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press; Reprint edition (7 Feb. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1564786919
  • ISBN-13: 978-1564786913
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 0.5 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 314,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

WILLIAM GADDIS (1922-98) was one of the greatest writers in twentieth-century America. He wrote five novels and won two National Book Awards, for JR (1976) and for A Frolic of His Own (1995). His other landmark novels include: The Recognitions (1955) and Carpenter's Gothic (1985). Agapc Agape was published by Atlantic in 2002. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Jan. 1997
Format: Paperback
The Recognitions is an amazing work of literature, as funny
as it is moving and as confounding as it is entertaining.
Gaddis work is often compared to Thomas Pynchon, perhaps because
of his tendency to mix absurd character names and slapstick comedy amidst
serious situations. But whereas Pynchon's work is mostly plot driven, with
characters simply providing the outlet for the author's ideas, Gaddis is
brilliant at creating realistic characters whose words and ideas mainatin
the momentum of the work.

In almost every passage of The Recognitions, there is some glorious pay off,
some action or statement that you'll read again and again so as not to forget it,
only to move on to the next passage and be more throroughly moved. Easily the most
rewarding reading experience I have had in years.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 8 May 1999
Format: Paperback
Gaddis' masterpiece has been regarded as "impenetrable" since its late 50s publication. Time to revisit it nearly 40-years later. One of it's dozens of themes is a New York art forger who turns out perfect, bogus, "newly discovered" Van Eycks in his loft. The forgeries pass the most intense scrutiny by art- and Van Eyck scholars and are sold for vast sums. The forger and his dealer gradually realize the single flaw: No 20th century person can recreate a 17th century perception.
Similarly, no intelligent 1999 reader will recreate the wrong-headed obtuseness of 1950s reviewers. Beside being a masterpiece, Gawd, it's a hilarious skewering of pretentiousness.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 17 Aug. 1999
Format: Paperback
This is an incredible novel for a thirty-year old; the problem is that Gaddis, as a first-timer, tries too hard in spots. The characters are too articulately inarticulate, the mythological references too ostentatiously used, and the mood is sometimes lost when the prose is piled on it. However, it has the subtlest humor and the harshest satire of any American book. Many passages are perfectly pitched, (the scene with Wyatt's breakdown is funny!), and the characters are a bunch of lost souls desperately seeking...something.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 31 Dec. 1998
Format: Paperback
"The Recognitions" is the most important book of the past 100 years. William Gaddis was America's Joyce, America's Dickens. And too few people know who he is (or was, now). If you've never read him, do, and start here: "The Recognitions" is a big, beautiful, sprawling, hilarious, crazed trip through the world of counterfeiters (this word has myriad meanings in this novel) and groupies. Read it, if only to see how great America's literary tradition could have been if a few more writers had one-quarter Gaddis' courage.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 8 Dec. 1998
Format: Paperback
When asked to explain The Recognitions, to cover all its unforgettable characters, exceptional dialogue, or breathtaking prose, you find yourself at a loss for words... Why this novel so unread is beyond me. Its big, yes, but goes by quickly; it has loads of references, yes, but who cares: if you get them, fine, if you don't, don't sweat it--they're not integral to the story. I think the biggest misconception is that the book is difficult. It is not. Not like Ulysses, or Gravity's Rainbow (must reads, too!)... it's simply a beautiful book full of characters you'll never forget. And it's hilarious to boot. Do yourself a favour and read it!
Shall I sing the love song of Otto & Esme?
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 July 1999
Format: Paperback
absolutely the greatest book i have ever read (and probably the greatest mr. pynchon ever came across too) chock full of erudition, wit, arcane knowledge and pure poetry. reverberations from this behemoth will be felt for years, but only the enlightened will know the source. keep cool but care.
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