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Showing results by William Gaddis only

Nevertheless, they boarded the Purdue Victory and sailed out of Boston harbor, provided for against all inclemencies but these they were leaving behind, and those disasters of such scope and fortuitous originality which Christian courts of law and insurance companies, humbly arguing ad hominem, define as acts of God.

this is just funny

—p.4 PART I (1) by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago

[...] Since it was not true that he had, as a distant tabloid reported, been trapped by alert Federal agents who found him substituting his own likeness for the gross features of Andrew Jackson on the American twenty-dollar note, Mr. Sinisterra paid this gratuitous slander little attention. But, like any sensitive artist caught in the toils of unsympathetic critics, he still smarted severely from the review given his work on page one of The National Counterfeit Detector Monthly (“Nose in Jackson portrait appears bulbous due to heavy line from bridge . . .”); and soon enough thereafter, his passion for anonymity feeding upon his innate modesty amid walls of Malebolgian acclivity, he resolved upon a standard of such future excellence for his work, that jealous critics should never dare attack him as its author again. His contrition for the death which had occurred under his hand was genuine, and his penances sincere; still, he made no connection between that accident in the hands of God, and the career which lay in his own. He was soon at work on a hand-engraved steel plate, in the prison shop where license number tags were turned out.

love it

—p.5 PART I (1) by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago

[...] He was doing missionary work. But from the outset he had little success in convincing his charges of their responsibility for a sin committed at the beginning of creation, one which, as they understood it, they were ready and capable (indeed, they carried charms to assure it) of duplicating themselves. He did no better convincing them that a man had died on a tree to save them all: an act which one old Indian, if Gwyon had translated correctly, regarded as “rank presumption.” [...]

—p.8 PART I (1) by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago

A robin, a thrush, and a bluejay (mounted by a distant cousin who had found taxidermy the Way Out and was last seen in the Natural History Museum in Capetown, South Africa, drinking himself to death in a room full of rigid hummingbirds he had stuffed himself)

how is this so unassumingly funny

—p.25 PART I (1) by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago

Unlike children who are encouraged to down their food by the familiar spoon-scraped prize of happy animals cartooned on the bottom of the dish, Wyatt hurried through every drab meal to meet a Deadly Sin. Or occasionally he forgot his food, troubled by the presence of the underclothed Figure in the table’s center, which he would stare at with the loveless eyes of childhood until interrupted. After he had been told the meaning of the rubric, he could be heard muttering in those dark hallways, —Cave, cave, Dominus videt.

this made me laugh out loud

—p.30 PART I (1) by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago

—The real hero does not need to question, she said. —The Lord tells him his duty.

—How does He tell him?

—As He told John Huss, she answered readily, seating herself, reaching back with assurance to summon that “pale thin man in mean attire,” and she started to detail the career of the great Bohemian reformer, from his teachings and triumphs under the good King Wenceslaus to his betrayal by the Emperor Sigismund.

—And what happened to him then?

—He was burned at the stake, she said with bitter satisfaction, as footsteps were heard in a hall from the direction of the study, —with the Kyrie eleison on his lips . . . Here, where are you going? [...]

oh my god

—p.32 PART I (1) by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago

Winter thawed into sodden spring, cruel April and depraved May reared and fell behind, and the doctors realized that this subject was nearing exhaustion, might, in fact, betray them by escaping to the dissection table. [...]

thinking about why i find this funny: the mismatch of drama in the adjectives vs what we'd usually associate with the nouns

—p.42 PART I (1) by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago

[...] Still the gray faces kept peace, precarious though it might be. They had never been treated this way from the pulpit. True, many stirred with indignant discomfort after listening to the familiar story of virgin birth on December twenty-fifth, mutilation and resurrection, to find they had been attending, not Christ, but Bacchus, Osiris, Krishna, Buddha, Adonis, Marduk, Balder, Attis, Amphion, or Quetzalcoatl. They recalled the sad day the sun was darkened; but they did not remember the occasion as being the death of Julius Caesar. And many hurried home to closet themselves with their Bibles after the sermon on the Trinity, which proved to be Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva; as they did after the recital of the Immaculate Conception, where the seed entered in spiritual form, bringing forth, in virginal modesty, Romulus and Remus.

so funny

—p.56 PART I (1) by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago

But he stopped in that doorway, reaching a hand inside he snapped on the bright light which flung a heavier shadow across the floor to her. —Listen, this guilt, this secrecy, he burst out, —it has nothing to do with this . . . this passion for wanting to meet the latest poet, shake hands with the latest novelist, get hold of the latest painter, devour . . . what is it? What is it they want from a man that they didn’t get from his work? What do they expect? What is there left of him when he’s done his work? What’s any artist, but the dregs of his work? the human shambles that follows it around. What’s left of the man when the work’s done but a shambles of apology.

—p.95 PART I (1) by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago

The lust of summer gone, the sun made its visits shorter and more uncertain, appearing to the city with that discomfited reserve that sense of duty of the lover who no longer loves.

—p.100 PART I (1) by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago

Showing results by William Gaddis only