The Recognitions (American Literature (Dalkey Archive))
The book Jonathan Franzen dubbed the "ur-text of postwar fiction" and the "first great cultural critique, which, even if Heller and Pynchon hadn't read it while composing "Catch-22" and "V.," managed to anticipate the spirit of both"--"The Recognitions" is a masterwork about art and forgery, and the increasingly thin line between the counterfeit and the fake. Gaddis anticipates by almost half a century the crisis of reality that we currently face, where the real and the virtual are combining in alarming ways, and the sources of legitimacy and power are often obscure to us.
wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities. That upset Aunt May, and though she could not presume to argue with Saint Paul the Apostle, it was at moments like this that she suspected him of never having really got over being Saul the Jew of Tarsus, with a nose like Saint Edmund, and those dirty intemperate habits Jews are famous for. Unlike her charity and that of her Societies, which never ventured south of the sixtieth parallel except for forays into darkest Africa, Gwyon's
twenty-dollar bill. The small man sipped his beer, and looked wonderingly at this extravagant diversion. —Here, what's that? What's that? —What? . . . —Right there behind you. In the glass. —This here? This coconut? —Good God . . . it's a griffin's egg. Let me see it. —This here's a coconut. —Let me see it. Where did it come from? —Some guy sent it to me, he was in the service . . . —Let me see it. —You shake it, you can hear the milk inside rattling. Hear it? —Yes, yes, I hear it.
drop of eserine fall into his left eye, while he went on, —Do you think I can take chances? How many men do you think there are in this country who can pick up engraving tools and do what I can do? There's 49° hardly half a dozen, and they can hardly come near me. Even them, they either work for the government or they're in jail. And do you think nobody knows who I am? The minute they spot a piece of this stuff, they've got it under a microscope. They've got work of mine they picked up thirty
Everyone rallied round, erecting arches, domes, pediments, and copied what the Romans had copied from the Greeks. Empire furniture, candlesticks, coiffures . . . somewhere beyond them hung the vision of Constantine's Rome, its eleven forums, ten basilicas, eighteen aqueducts, thirty-seven city gates, two arenas, two circuses, thirty-seven triumphal arches, five obelisks, four hundred and twenty-three temples with their statues of the gods in ivory and gold. But all that was gone. There was no
found himself listening to the strident raucous tones of a barrel organ, pursuing some vulgar tune through the wet village streets below. The distinguished novelist banged the windows to, could not close them tight, and retreated toward the other end of the room clearing his throat. The bed reared before him, and he spun on his heel and sat down at his writing table, to stare at the papers, the few books, and the sign hanging before his eyes. The books included, instead of a dictionary, a