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

4.4 out of 5 stars 133 ratings
Part of: American Literature (20 Books)

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Editorial Reviews


"The novel is like a huge landscape painting of modern New York, peopled with hundreds of doomed but energetic little figures, executed on wood panels by Brueghel or Bosch, and looking incongruously ancient beneath layers of yellowed lacquer. Even the blue skies in the book (the phrase "Another blue day" recurs as a despair-inducing leitmotiv) glow like oil-paint skies in an art museum...", Jonathan Franzen, The New Yorker

"The Recognitions is always spoken of as the most overlooked important work of the last several literary generations... Through the famous obscurity of The Recognitions, Mr. Gaddis has become famous for not being famous enough.", Cynthia Ozick

"[The Recognitions] seems as relevant as ever. For who would dare say that we no longer live in a world in which people 'exchange forgeries of what the heart dare not surrender?' The problem of authenticity in all its forms is always with us, and in reading this extraordinary book we are constantly freed into recognitions ― re‐cognitions ― of many aspects, of the problem, which have deteriorated into non‐cognitions in our mass media age. William Gaddis detects forgery at all levels, but in doing so he has forged a classic.", Tony Tanner, The New York Times

About the Author

William Gaddis (1922-98) stands among the greatest American writers of the twentieth century. The winner of two National Book Awards (for J R [1976] and A Frolic of His Own [1995]), he wrote five novels during his lifetime, including Carpenter’s Gothic (1985), Agapē Agape (published posthumously in 2002), and his early masterpiece The Recognitions (1955). He is loved and admired for his stylistic innovations, his unforgettable characters, his pervasive humor, and the breadth of his intellect and vision.

William H. Gass—essayist, novelist, literary critic—was born in Fargo, North Dakota. He has been the recipient of the first PEN/Nabokov Award, the PEN/Spielvogel-Diamondstein Award for the Art of the Essay, three National Book Critic Circle Awards for Criticism, a Lannan Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award, the Award for Fiction and the Medal of Merit for Fiction from the Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and fellowships from the Rockefeller and Guggenheim Foundations. He lives in St. Louis.

Product details

  • Publisher : Dalkey Archive Press (February 7, 2012)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 976 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1564786919
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1564786913
  • Item Weight : 2.95 pounds
  • Dimensions : 0.6 x 0.21 x 0.9 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 133 ratings

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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
133 global ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on August 19, 2018
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Top reviews from other countries

Ross Baldwin
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book To Carry For Life (it may just take you that long to finish it)
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 21, 2021
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Book To Carry For Life (it may just take you that long to finish it)
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 21, 2021
Stunning work, my first read of Gaddis. Once finished I couldn't help but feel as though The Recognitions will be a book I constantly return to. Will it be a yearly re-read? Probably not, but I can sense that every five years or so I'll find an occasion to revisit the work, and get sucked into the vast tapestry (or reproduction thereof) of characters here. I'd you have reservations, please place then aside. This book is worth it.

One slight annoyance I had was that the very first page on my edition came loose from the binding after a mere two days of reading. Nothing major, but for nearly £20 I would hope for something of more concrete quality. Everything else is, however, brilliant
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5.0 out of 5 stars another landmark
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 30, 2018
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João Antonio Guerra
5.0 out of 5 stars Falta traduzir no Brasil
Reviewed in Brazil on February 17, 2018
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Harold B. Pregler
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings
Reviewed in Canada on May 18, 2016
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5.0 out of 5 stars thank you Gaddis, thank you Dalkey Press
Reviewed in Canada on January 18, 2020
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