The Recognitions (American Literature (Dalkey Archive))
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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.
—Dead as though he'd been drowned. —All right, my boy, is there anything else? Anything you need to go ahead with this? I had to buy him a God damn expensive egg-beater a couple of months ago, Brown said, turning to Basil Valentine, who stood up saying, —I have a number of photographs, blown-up details of the brushwork, you know. The foreground figures in the Ghent altarpiece, the Steenken Madonna . . . —Or imagine heaven and earth joined by a tree, he went on, as Valentine reached over and
show us anything else you do, won't you . . . ? her voice followed him, out the gate, across the greensward among those shepherdesses gesticulating their telephone crooks, up the garden path. One of them passed him, carrying a letter to" the office he'd just left, a letter which quivered, open, in Agnes Deigh's hand a few moments later. It was from the War Department, to inform her that the body of her brother had been recovered and identified. Did she want it? Please check yes or no. —Darling,
haven't been the same since the Morro Castle . . . the tall woman said, and laughed. —And I wish I could, but I can't, this dismal cocktail party tonight, my husband has to go, he's her editor, and I'm his wife. We're going to miss the Narcissus Festival in Hawaii again this year, I told him we'd just have one of our own . . . Basil Valentine's hands were clenched deep in his coat pockets. —Now? a Turkish bath? he muttered. —Well don't worry, those fragments, I'll be there tonight, I'll be at
finally forced to do the right thing, but . . . and how can I say, now, where, or with whom ... or what it will be. Then he lost his balance and almost went over as the door came open behind him in someone else's hand. —Rose! —I saw you here. —My razor, I forgot that, he said, between them, turning. —A straight razor with black handles, is it in the bathroom? Rose followed him there. Looking for the thing, he paused half turned to her, seeming slightly confused at the scent of lavender she
the ship rolled and the boiling sea was raised before her eyes, which she closed forthwith and tried to dwell on the felicitous snarl of misconceptions which she had, over many devout years, managed to accumulate about her destination. They were not, after all, going to Jerusalem, and once landed did not run the risk of being stoned by Saracens, or offered for sale such articles of commerce as the bodies of the Holy Innocents. Neither the prospect of getting hold of a shred of the True Cross, nor