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Agape Agape (Penguin Classics) Paperback – September 30, 2003
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As Joseph Tabbi explains in his informative afterword, Agape Agape is the result of years of research and consideration by Gaddis, and the novella explores technological advancement and the response to this advancement, both actual and hypothetical, by such figures as Nietzsche, Walter Benjamin, and Tolstoy. While an impressive work of scholarship, Agape Agape is foremost an emotional decree, Gaddis's final statement of outrage and sadness at our cultural direction and a plea for change. At less than 100 sparsely punctuated pages, the book is an efficient combustion of energy and an affecting depiction of personal and cultural disintegration. At once a condemnation, warning, and affirmation, it reflects Gaddis's apprehensions but also his enduring faith in the power of creation. A worthwhile starting point for newcomers to Gaddis's work, Agape Agape is a memorable end to the career of a gifted thinker. --Ross Doll --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
This prejudice of mine is coupled with a general dislike for posthumous works in general-the kind where a Major Author left a work unfinished at death, and which is years after released and edited with an introduction or forward by some noted Scholar: ("This really IS a great book, all of Fitzgerald's/Hemingway's/Duras'/McGowin's major Themes are here," etc., etc.). Well, they very seldom are great works, and just as the act of Revision seems contrived to some (your Kerouac wannabes, perhaps), I, conversely, find the act of posthumous publication to itself be contrived-again, in general. Glenn Gould, the great pianist, once expressed his intense dislike of "live" recordings being released on record labels with the surrounding hoopla, and said he planned to do a "fake" live album, recorded in the studio, complete with mistakes and overdubbed with audience coughing, etc. Sony of course wouldn't go for it, but I've often wanted to write a "fake" posthumous novel, the Final (unfinished) Work of a Great American Novelist-I'll make it about 100 de-contextualized pages, with 200 pages of forwards, introductions, afterwards, and footnotes. Now that Dave Eggars is a Publisher, he should get in touch.
But in the case of Agape Agape, the Afterward is totally superfluous.Read more ›
On the odd chance that I'm writing this to someone who has wandered onto this page by accident and has no clue who Gaddis is (it's okay if you weren't aware of him previously, he's a tad obscure . . . but I'm still impressed you made it here somehow), he was a man known for writing lengthy, complex and erudite novels, so lengthy and complex that he only managed to write about five in his lifetime, of which this is one. Most of the others have something that would scare off the casual reader, whether it's because it's nine hundred pages ("The Recognitions"), completely comprised of dialogue ("JR" - probably my favorite and the best primer for writing dialogue as cacophony that still advances the narrative . . . just like real life) or uses mounds of legalese ("A Frolic of His Own") it's not that he intentionally made things difficult, it's just that he was going to do it his way and he really didn't care about waiting around to see if you were going to catch up.
He passed away in 1998, and this was published several years later. Its genesis lies in extensive notes that were taken over the years for a history of the player piano but have now been folded into an extended shifting stream of consciousness monologue from a dying writer who is sorting through the disposition of his property and boxes of information about player pianos that he's gathered over the years. There's no dialogue and only one paragraph so once it starts there's no stopping it, not unlike the raspy old man at the bar that twenty minutes into his long, rambling story you realize that everyone else has moved away and left you alone, it's just you and him. And honestly, he doesn't even really need you.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the more perceptive reviewers called this work a "diatribe". That, unfortunately, is exactly the case. Read morePublished 3 months ago by MACLEAR
Some people continue to read fiction while being utterly bored by it. I am one of them. I suspect Gaddis was bored too while being the brilliant writer that he was. Read morePublished 23 months ago by roxanaredrose
I picked up Agape Agape after hearing so much about William Gaddis as an author but having never read one of his books. Read morePublished on November 23, 2013 by Joseph Landes
Because it's Gaddis and because it's his last rage and testimonial, I think this book may have been given too much credit. Read morePublished on July 14, 2012 by bookerish
Having never read Gaddis, but intrigued by the comparisons to several of my favorite authors (Joyce, Pynchon, etc) I decided to read him. Read morePublished on September 3, 2009 by J. Edgar Mihelic, MBA