Literary Techniques

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Speaking of one of his paintings, Wyatt says, "There isn't any single perspective, like the camera eye, the one we all look through now and...

(The entire section is 143 words.)

Social Concerns

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

The Recognitions is primarily a satire of American society. "Much of our fiction," Gaddis declared in 1986, "has been increasingly...

(The entire section is 178 words.)


(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

Comnes, Gregory. The Ethics of Indeterminacy in the Novels of William Gaddis. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1994. Comnes explores Gaddis’s view on ethics and moral imperatives and notes that Gaddis “provides readers with a chance to consider what it means to have values without absolutes . . .” An excellent study that offers readers an illuminating perspective on the philosophy undergirding Gaddis’s work.

Gaddis, William. “A Carnival of Disorderly Conduct.” Interview by Laurel Graeber. The New York Times Book Review, January 9, 1994, p. 22. Presents insight into Gaddis’s style and themes. Gaddis tells why he is not interested in becoming a prolific author. He also describes his approach to writing, which emphasizes dialogue over narration.

Knight, Christopher. Hints and Guesses: William Gaddis and the Longing for an Enlarged Culture. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1998. The first scholarly work to discuss all four of Gaddis’s novels, Knight’s book focuses on Gaddis’s significance as a social critic and satirist. Knight highlights Gaddis’s major concerns, including Flemish painting, forgery, corporate America, Third World politics, and the U.S. legal system.

Moore, Steven. A Reader’s Guide to William Gaddis’s “The Recognitions.” Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995. In this revised edition of his 1982 work, Moore provides synopses of each chapter of Gaddis’s novel, as well as detailed annotations. A useful resource for the study of the novel.

Wolfe, Peter. A Vision of His Own: The Mind and Art of William Gaddis. Madison, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1997. Offers an in-depth study of major themes and characters in Gaddis’s fiction, including The Recognitions. An indispensable study for general readers and scholars alike.

Literary Precedents

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

There are countless literary works that might serve as precedents, but foremost is T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land. The...

(The entire section is 106 words.)

Related Titles

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

The novel JR (1975) a scathing, sometimes hilarious, and sometimes brutal satire of American capitalist ideology and practice. Named...

(The entire section is 1107 words.)