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1

PART I

16
terms
26
notes

Gaddis, W. (2012). PART I. In Gaddis, W. The Recognitions. Dalkey Archive Press, pp. 1-4

(verb) to invoke evil on; curse / (verb) to utter curses

3

Buried over there with a lot of dead Catholics, was Aunt May’s imprecation.

ahhh very confusing use of the word but it does make sense in context [refers to the woman that Aunt May hates]

—p.3 by William Gaddis
strange
1 year, 8 months ago

Buried over there with a lot of dead Catholics, was Aunt May’s imprecation.

ahhh very confusing use of the word but it does make sense in context [refers to the woman that Aunt May hates]

—p.3 by William Gaddis
strange
1 year, 8 months ago
4

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 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago

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 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago
5

[...] 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 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 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago
8

[...] 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 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 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago

(noun) the battlement of a castle or other building. / (noun) any of the embrasures alternating with merlons in a battlemen

9

with turreted walls, parapets, crenelations, machicolations, bartizans, a harrowing variety of domes and spires in staggering Romanesque, Byzantine effulgence, and Gothic run riot in mullioned windows

idk if i need the rest of these words tbh

—p.9 by William Gaddis
notable
1 year, 8 months ago

with turreted walls, parapets, crenelations, machicolations, bartizans, a harrowing variety of domes and spires in staggering Romanesque, Byzantine effulgence, and Gothic run riot in mullioned windows

idk if i need the rest of these words tbh

—p.9 by William Gaddis
notable
1 year, 8 months ago

(noun) a container or shrine in which sacred relics are kept

18

But other holy appliances were kept handy, for a rousing ceremony to speed the foreign visitor who rested up on the hill. Reliquaries were opened

—p.18 by William Gaddis
notable
1 year, 8 months ago

But other holy appliances were kept handy, for a rousing ceremony to speed the foreign visitor who rested up on the hill. Reliquaries were opened

—p.18 by William Gaddis
notable
1 year, 8 months ago

(noun) a vessel for burning incense / (noun) a covered incense burner swung on chains in a religious ritual

18

censers swung in dangerous arcs, beads fingered and psalters thumbed

—p.18 by William Gaddis
uncertain
1 year, 8 months ago

censers swung in dangerous arcs, beads fingered and psalters thumbed

—p.18 by William Gaddis
uncertain
1 year, 8 months ago

(adjective) of, relating to, or constituting the exceptionally hard and dense portion of the human temporal bone that contains the internal auditory organs

24

their petrous visages

i thought it meant something rock-like [petrified?] and i guess i was kinda right

—p.24 by William Gaddis
uncertain
1 year, 8 months ago

their petrous visages

i thought it meant something rock-like [petrified?] and i guess i was kinda right

—p.24 by William Gaddis
uncertain
1 year, 8 months ago
25

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 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 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago
30

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 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 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago
32

—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 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 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago
42

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 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 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago

atone for (guilt or sin)

45

The sermons thundered at them from the pulpit of their peaceful church increased in violence, and embraced expiatory petitions to the Lord their God less and less frequently

—p.45 by William Gaddis
notable
1 year, 8 months ago

The sermons thundered at them from the pulpit of their peaceful church increased in violence, and embraced expiatory petitions to the Lord their God less and less frequently

—p.45 by William Gaddis
notable
1 year, 8 months ago
56

[...] 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 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 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago

(adjective) marked by unruly or aggressive noisiness; clamorous / (adjective) stubbornly resistant to control; unruly

74

In front of the Bourse, a deaf-mute soccer team carried on conversation in obstreperous silence.

god this is so unexpectedly funny

—p.74 by William Gaddis
confirm
1 year, 8 months ago

In front of the Bourse, a deaf-mute soccer team carried on conversation in obstreperous silence.

god this is so unexpectedly funny

—p.74 by William Gaddis
confirm
1 year, 8 months ago
95

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 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 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago
100

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 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 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago
103

Tragedy was foresworn, in ritual denial of the ripe knowledge that we are drawing away from one another, that we share only one thing, share the fear of belonging to another, or to others, or to God; love or money, tender equated in advertising and the world, where only money is currency, and under dead trees and brittle ornaments prehensile hands exchange forgeries of what the heart dare not surrender.

—p.103 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago

Tragedy was foresworn, in ritual denial of the ripe knowledge that we are drawing away from one another, that we share only one thing, share the fear of belonging to another, or to others, or to God; love or money, tender equated in advertising and the world, where only money is currency, and under dead trees and brittle ornaments prehensile hands exchange forgeries of what the heart dare not surrender.

—p.103 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago
109

(For the first time in months) he put his arm around her; but his hand, reaching her shoulder, did not close upon it, only rested there. They swayed a little, standing in the doorway, still holding each other together in a way of holding each other back: they still waited, being moved over the surface of time like two swells upon the sea, one so close upon the other that neither can reach a peak and break, until both, unrealized, come in to shatter coincidentally upon the shore.

—p.109 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago

(For the first time in months) he put his arm around her; but his hand, reaching her shoulder, did not close upon it, only rested there. They swayed a little, standing in the doorway, still holding each other together in a way of holding each other back: they still waited, being moved over the surface of time like two swells upon the sea, one so close upon the other that neither can reach a peak and break, until both, unrealized, come in to shatter coincidentally upon the shore.

—p.109 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago
111

—Listen . . . , he said. He’d withdrawn his hand on the table top automatically. —That’s what it is, this arrogance, in this flamenco music this same arrogance of suffering, listen. The strength of it’s what’s so overpowering, the self-sufficiency that’s so delicate and tender without an instant of sentimentality. With infinite pity but refusing pity, it’s a precision of suffering, he went on, abruptly working his hand in the air as though to shape it there, —the tremendous tension of violence all enclosed in a framework, . . . in a pattern that doesn’t pretend to any other level but its own, do you know what I mean? He barely glanced at her to see if she did. —It’s the privacy, the exquisite sense of privacy about it, he said speaking more rapidly, —it’s the sense of privacy that most popular expressions of suffering don’t have, don’t dare have, that’s what makes it arrogant. That’s what sentimentalizing invades and corrupts, that’s what we’ve lost everywhere, especially here where they make every possible assault on your feelings and privacy. These things have their own patterns, suffering and violence, and that’s . . . the sense of violence within its own pattern, the pattern that belongs to violence like the bullfight, that’s why the bullfight is art, because it respects its own pattern . . .

—p.111 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago

—Listen . . . , he said. He’d withdrawn his hand on the table top automatically. —That’s what it is, this arrogance, in this flamenco music this same arrogance of suffering, listen. The strength of it’s what’s so overpowering, the self-sufficiency that’s so delicate and tender without an instant of sentimentality. With infinite pity but refusing pity, it’s a precision of suffering, he went on, abruptly working his hand in the air as though to shape it there, —the tremendous tension of violence all enclosed in a framework, . . . in a pattern that doesn’t pretend to any other level but its own, do you know what I mean? He barely glanced at her to see if she did. —It’s the privacy, the exquisite sense of privacy about it, he said speaking more rapidly, —it’s the sense of privacy that most popular expressions of suffering don’t have, don’t dare have, that’s what makes it arrogant. That’s what sentimentalizing invades and corrupts, that’s what we’ve lost everywhere, especially here where they make every possible assault on your feelings and privacy. These things have their own patterns, suffering and violence, and that’s . . . the sense of violence within its own pattern, the pattern that belongs to violence like the bullfight, that’s why the bullfight is art, because it respects its own pattern . . .

—p.111 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago
113

—All right, listen, I have ideas but why should I oppress you with them? It’s your work, and something like writing is very private, isn’t it? How . . . how fragile situations are. But not tenuous. Delicate, but not flimsy, not indulgent. Delicate, that’s why they keep breaking, they must break and you must get the pieces together and show it before it breaks again, or put them aside for a moment when something else breaks and turn to that, and all this keeps going on. That’s why most writing now, if you read it they go on one two three four and tell you what happened like newspaper accounts, no adjectives, no long sentences, no tricks they pretend, and they finally believe that they really believe that the way they saw it is the way it is, when really . . . [...] They write for people who read with the surface of their minds, people with reading habits that make the smallest demands on them, people brought up reading for facts, who know what’s going to come next and want to know what’s coming next, and get angry at surprises. Clarity’s essential, and detail, no fake mysticism, the facts are bad enough. But we’re embarrassed for people who tell too much, and tell it without surprise. How does he know what happened? unless it’s one unshaven man alone in a boat, changing I to he, and how often do you get a man alone in a boat, in all this . . . all this . . . Listen, there are so many delicate fixtures, moving toward you, you’ll see. Like a man going into a dark room, holding his hands down guarding his parts for fear of a table corner, and . . . Why, all this around us is for people who can keep their balance only in the light, where they move as though nothing were fragile, nothing tempered by possibility, and all of a sudden bang! something breaks. Then you have to stop and put the pieces together again. But you never can put them back together quite the same way. You stop when you can and expose things, and leave them within reach, and others come on by themselves, and they break, and even then you may put the pieces aside just out of reach until you can bring them back and show them, put together slightly different, maybe a little more enduring, until you’ve broken it and picked up the pieces enough times, and you have the whole thing in all its dimensions. But the discipline, the detail, it’s just . . . sometimes the accumulation is too much to bear.

—p.113 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago

—All right, listen, I have ideas but why should I oppress you with them? It’s your work, and something like writing is very private, isn’t it? How . . . how fragile situations are. But not tenuous. Delicate, but not flimsy, not indulgent. Delicate, that’s why they keep breaking, they must break and you must get the pieces together and show it before it breaks again, or put them aside for a moment when something else breaks and turn to that, and all this keeps going on. That’s why most writing now, if you read it they go on one two three four and tell you what happened like newspaper accounts, no adjectives, no long sentences, no tricks they pretend, and they finally believe that they really believe that the way they saw it is the way it is, when really . . . [...] They write for people who read with the surface of their minds, people with reading habits that make the smallest demands on them, people brought up reading for facts, who know what’s going to come next and want to know what’s coming next, and get angry at surprises. Clarity’s essential, and detail, no fake mysticism, the facts are bad enough. But we’re embarrassed for people who tell too much, and tell it without surprise. How does he know what happened? unless it’s one unshaven man alone in a boat, changing I to he, and how often do you get a man alone in a boat, in all this . . . all this . . . Listen, there are so many delicate fixtures, moving toward you, you’ll see. Like a man going into a dark room, holding his hands down guarding his parts for fear of a table corner, and . . . Why, all this around us is for people who can keep their balance only in the light, where they move as though nothing were fragile, nothing tempered by possibility, and all of a sudden bang! something breaks. Then you have to stop and put the pieces together again. But you never can put them back together quite the same way. You stop when you can and expose things, and leave them within reach, and others come on by themselves, and they break, and even then you may put the pieces aside just out of reach until you can bring them back and show them, put together slightly different, maybe a little more enduring, until you’ve broken it and picked up the pieces enough times, and you have the whole thing in all its dimensions. But the discipline, the detail, it’s just . . . sometimes the accumulation is too much to bear.

—p.113 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago
114

It is a naked city. Faith is not pampered, nor hope encouraged; there is no place to lay one’s exhaustion: but instead pinnacles skewer it undisguised against vacancy. At this hour it was delivered over to those who inherit it between the spasms of its life, those who live underground and come out, the ones who do not come out and the ones who do not carry keys, the ones who look with interest at small objects on the ground, the ones who look without interest, the ones who do not know the hour for the darkness, the ones who look for illuminated clocks with apprehension, the ones who look at passing shoe-tops with dread, the ones who look at passing faces from waist level, the ones who look in separate directions, the ones who look from whitened eyeballs, the ones who wear one eyeglass blacked, the ones who are tattooed, the ones who walk like windmills, the ones who spread disease, the ones who receive extreme unction with salted peanuts on their breath.

!

—p.114 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago

It is a naked city. Faith is not pampered, nor hope encouraged; there is no place to lay one’s exhaustion: but instead pinnacles skewer it undisguised against vacancy. At this hour it was delivered over to those who inherit it between the spasms of its life, those who live underground and come out, the ones who do not come out and the ones who do not carry keys, the ones who look with interest at small objects on the ground, the ones who look without interest, the ones who do not know the hour for the darkness, the ones who look for illuminated clocks with apprehension, the ones who look at passing shoe-tops with dread, the ones who look at passing faces from waist level, the ones who look in separate directions, the ones who look from whitened eyeballs, the ones who wear one eyeglass blacked, the ones who are tattooed, the ones who walk like windmills, the ones who spread disease, the ones who receive extreme unction with salted peanuts on their breath.

!

—p.114 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago
114

They left a few minutes later. —That seems like a lot of money to leave, Esther said to him.

—For the music.

—Well, I wouldn’t tip so much if I were you, she said in the door.

—But you’re not, he whispered hoarsely, holding it open.

aaahh

—p.114 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago

They left a few minutes later. —That seems like a lot of money to leave, Esther said to him.

—For the music.

—Well, I wouldn’t tip so much if I were you, she said in the door.

—But you’re not, he whispered hoarsely, holding it open.

aaahh

—p.114 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago
119

—Esther . . . Otto whispered, and buried himself more deeply on her, forced his head down over her shoulder, pressing the lips that lied into her neck. —Esme . . .

As in Chinese fencing, whose contractual positions eliminate the fetters of time, time passed.

—It’s a song from Tosca, she said, waking in the dark.

cool way to skip the moment

—p.119 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago

—Esther . . . Otto whispered, and buried himself more deeply on her, forced his head down over her shoulder, pressing the lips that lied into her neck. —Esme . . .

As in Chinese fencing, whose contractual positions eliminate the fetters of time, time passed.

—It’s a song from Tosca, she said, waking in the dark.

cool way to skip the moment

—p.119 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago
120

Otto turned for the waiter, whom he’d been having trouble reaching since they sat down. He’d brought her to a small restaurant which, with excess of garlic in everything but dessert and coffee (though it lingered even there), and very dry martini cocktails served by disdainfully subservient waiters one and all in need of a shave, sustained a Continental fabric that would have collapsed entirely without the expense accounts of the publishing world. —His mother breathed for him before I married him, said the woman at the next table, who was seated nearer to Otto than Esther was. —His job is to scrub the kitchen and the bathroom . . .

'disdainfully subservient' is AMAZING

—p.120 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago

Otto turned for the waiter, whom he’d been having trouble reaching since they sat down. He’d brought her to a small restaurant which, with excess of garlic in everything but dessert and coffee (though it lingered even there), and very dry martini cocktails served by disdainfully subservient waiters one and all in need of a shave, sustained a Continental fabric that would have collapsed entirely without the expense accounts of the publishing world. —His mother breathed for him before I married him, said the woman at the next table, who was seated nearer to Otto than Esther was. —His job is to scrub the kitchen and the bathroom . . .

'disdainfully subservient' is AMAZING

—p.120 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago
122

[...] Gordon’s speeches were becoming more and more profound. Gordon would soon be at home only in drama; and, though his author had not considered it, possibly closet drama at that. Otto often disappeared at odd moments, as some children do given a new word, or a new idea, or a gift, and they are found standing alone in some private corner, lips moving, as they search for the place where this new thing belongs, to get it firmly in place and part of themselves before they return to adult assaults, and the incredible possibility that they may one day themselves be the hunters. Like their lips, his pencil moved, getting the thing down before it was lost, not to himself but to his play; for once written, it need be reconsidered only for sound and character, and the scene it would best fit in, while he returned to the assaults and possibilities that only the hunter knows. In the past few months, Gordon had begun to lose his debonair manner, and become more seriously inclined; he tossed off epigrams less readily, but often paused and made abrupt gestures with his hands, as though to shape his wisdom in plain view of the large audience, halting between phrases to indicate the labor they cost him; he was liable to be silent, where he had chatted amiably; and where he had paused upstage, thoughtfully silent, he was liable not to appear at all. Grdn: We hate thngs only becse in thm we see elemnts whch we secrtly hate in rslves, Gordon’s creator wrote, at the foot of a page almost covered with notations (one of which covered half the page, and only two of which were not Gordon). He paused for a moment, tapping his lip with the pencil; then, Grdn: Orignlty not inventn bt snse of recall, recgntion, pttrns alrdy thr, q. You cannt invnt t shpe of a stone. N. Mke Grdn pntr? sclptr? By now Gordon was some three or four inches shorter than he had been, and considerably less elegant. With this note that Gordon’s profession was still open to change, Otto pushed at the outside door and found it open. He entered and climbed the stairs. He was commencing to envy Gordon.

[obviously inspired by the conversation he'd just had]

—p.122 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago

[...] Gordon’s speeches were becoming more and more profound. Gordon would soon be at home only in drama; and, though his author had not considered it, possibly closet drama at that. Otto often disappeared at odd moments, as some children do given a new word, or a new idea, or a gift, and they are found standing alone in some private corner, lips moving, as they search for the place where this new thing belongs, to get it firmly in place and part of themselves before they return to adult assaults, and the incredible possibility that they may one day themselves be the hunters. Like their lips, his pencil moved, getting the thing down before it was lost, not to himself but to his play; for once written, it need be reconsidered only for sound and character, and the scene it would best fit in, while he returned to the assaults and possibilities that only the hunter knows. In the past few months, Gordon had begun to lose his debonair manner, and become more seriously inclined; he tossed off epigrams less readily, but often paused and made abrupt gestures with his hands, as though to shape his wisdom in plain view of the large audience, halting between phrases to indicate the labor they cost him; he was liable to be silent, where he had chatted amiably; and where he had paused upstage, thoughtfully silent, he was liable not to appear at all. Grdn: We hate thngs only becse in thm we see elemnts whch we secrtly hate in rslves, Gordon’s creator wrote, at the foot of a page almost covered with notations (one of which covered half the page, and only two of which were not Gordon). He paused for a moment, tapping his lip with the pencil; then, Grdn: Orignlty not inventn bt snse of recall, recgntion, pttrns alrdy thr, q. You cannt invnt t shpe of a stone. N. Mke Grdn pntr? sclptr? By now Gordon was some three or four inches shorter than he had been, and considerably less elegant. With this note that Gordon’s profession was still open to change, Otto pushed at the outside door and found it open. He entered and climbed the stairs. He was commencing to envy Gordon.

[obviously inspired by the conversation he'd just had]

—p.122 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago

(adjective) putting an end to or precluding a right of action, debate, or delay / (adjective) not providing an opportunity to show cause why one should not comply / (adjective) admitting of no contradiction / (adjective) expressive of urgency or command / (adjective) characterized by often imperious or arrogant self-assurance / (adjective) indicative of a peremptory attitude or nature; haughty / (noun) a challenge (as of a juror) made as of right without assigning any cause

134

it relapsed into the expression of intent vacancy which it had not lost, even in the interruption of surprise, a peremptory confusion which had seemed, for that instant, to empty it even further

—p.134 by William Gaddis
strange
1 year, 8 months ago

it relapsed into the expression of intent vacancy which it had not lost, even in the interruption of surprise, a peremptory confusion which had seemed, for that instant, to empty it even further

—p.134 by William Gaddis
strange
1 year, 8 months ago
144

—Damn it, it isn’t, it isn’t. It’s a question of . . . it’s being surrounded by people who don’t have any sense of . . . no sense that what they’re doing means anything. Don’t you understand that? That there’s any sense of necessity about their work, that it has to be done, that it’s theirs. And if they feel that way how can they see anything necessary in anyone else’s? And it . . . every work of art is a work of perfect necessity.

—Where’d you read that?

—I didn’t read it. That’s what it . . . has to be, that’s all. And if everyone else’s life, everyone else’s work around you can be interchanged and nobody can stop and say, This is mine, this is what I must do, this is my work . . . then how can they see it in mine, this sense of inevitableness, that this is the way it must be. In the middle of all this how can I feel that . . . damn it, when you paint you don’t just paint, you don’t just put lines down where you want to, you have to know, you have to know that every line you put down couldn’t go any other place, couldn’t be any different . . . But in the midst of all this . . . rootlessness, how can you . . . damn it, do you talk to people? Do you listen to them?

—p.144 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago

—Damn it, it isn’t, it isn’t. It’s a question of . . . it’s being surrounded by people who don’t have any sense of . . . no sense that what they’re doing means anything. Don’t you understand that? That there’s any sense of necessity about their work, that it has to be done, that it’s theirs. And if they feel that way how can they see anything necessary in anyone else’s? And it . . . every work of art is a work of perfect necessity.

—Where’d you read that?

—I didn’t read it. That’s what it . . . has to be, that’s all. And if everyone else’s life, everyone else’s work around you can be interchanged and nobody can stop and say, This is mine, this is what I must do, this is my work . . . then how can they see it in mine, this sense of inevitableness, that this is the way it must be. In the middle of all this how can I feel that . . . damn it, when you paint you don’t just paint, you don’t just put lines down where you want to, you have to know, you have to know that every line you put down couldn’t go any other place, couldn’t be any different . . . But in the midst of all this . . . rootlessness, how can you . . . damn it, do you talk to people? Do you listen to them?

—p.144 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago
158

The plantation outside was quiet, the jungle held at distance by thousands of pert green erections rearing on the stalks of the banana plants. There were no poisonous snakes, no poisoned darts. Few years before, within every discouraged native memory, they had managed in primitive content selling a consistently inferior grade of sisal, hands of green bananas, and occasional loads of hardwood to ships which came in leisurely to trade. Then an American fruit company arrived, tired of buying thousands of hands of bananas, set on hundreds of thousands of stems. The Company replaced the shaky wharf in the port with two firm piers, cleared and planted a tremendous plantation; and while waiting for their own trees to mature offered eight dollars a stem to local growers, since the Company ships were ready to call regularly. The natives gathered bananas in frenzied luxuriance, and planted thousands more. Then the Company’s crop started to ripen. The price dropped to three dollars. The Company’s bananas were cut and loaded, filling the Company ships to capacity. The Company ships were the only ones to call, since the Company owned the two new piers which the people had been so proud of at first. The local banana market disappeared. It simply ceased to exist. Ships passing the coast sailed through the smell of the fruit rotting on the trees miles out to sea. (It was now said that a plywood company in West Virginia was planning new and similar benefits for these fortunate people, so recently pushed to the vanguard of progress, their standard of living raised so marvelously high that none of them could reach it.)

—p.158 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago

The plantation outside was quiet, the jungle held at distance by thousands of pert green erections rearing on the stalks of the banana plants. There were no poisonous snakes, no poisoned darts. Few years before, within every discouraged native memory, they had managed in primitive content selling a consistently inferior grade of sisal, hands of green bananas, and occasional loads of hardwood to ships which came in leisurely to trade. Then an American fruit company arrived, tired of buying thousands of hands of bananas, set on hundreds of thousands of stems. The Company replaced the shaky wharf in the port with two firm piers, cleared and planted a tremendous plantation; and while waiting for their own trees to mature offered eight dollars a stem to local growers, since the Company ships were ready to call regularly. The natives gathered bananas in frenzied luxuriance, and planted thousands more. Then the Company’s crop started to ripen. The price dropped to three dollars. The Company’s bananas were cut and loaded, filling the Company ships to capacity. The Company ships were the only ones to call, since the Company owned the two new piers which the people had been so proud of at first. The local banana market disappeared. It simply ceased to exist. Ships passing the coast sailed through the smell of the fruit rotting on the trees miles out to sea. (It was now said that a plywood company in West Virginia was planning new and similar benefits for these fortunate people, so recently pushed to the vanguard of progress, their standard of living raised so marvelously high that none of them could reach it.)

—p.158 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago
166

Beside the boat, he took the change from his pocket to count. There were a few coins of the republic which he was leaving, mixed in with E Pluribus Unum dimes and quarters, odd-looking shiny coins (he had made certain to put aside new ones) which he would drop on New York bars, by mistake. [...]

amazing

—p.166 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago

Beside the boat, he took the change from his pocket to count. There were a few coins of the republic which he was leaving, mixed in with E Pluribus Unum dimes and quarters, odd-looking shiny coins (he had made certain to put aside new ones) which he would drop on New York bars, by mistake. [...]

amazing

—p.166 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago
178

—Oh no, no baby. They haven’t been out together since the gas stove exploded. When they got married they both wanted to write. Everything was fine until the books came out, then they found they’d written about each other. That was the only reason either of them wanted to get married, to study the other one. They used to sit and ask about each other’s childhood, and all kinds of things, and they both thought the other one was doing it for love. Now they just watch each other’s sales, and whoever’s ahead takes all the cream at breakfast.

lol

—p.178 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago

—Oh no, no baby. They haven’t been out together since the gas stove exploded. When they got married they both wanted to write. Everything was fine until the books came out, then they found they’d written about each other. That was the only reason either of them wanted to get married, to study the other one. They used to sit and ask about each other’s childhood, and all kinds of things, and they both thought the other one was doing it for love. Now they just watch each other’s sales, and whoever’s ahead takes all the cream at breakfast.

lol

—p.178 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago

fey (en)

(adjective) fated to die; doomed / (adjective) marked by a foreboding of death or calamity / (adjective) able to see into the future; visionary / (adjective) marked by an otherworldly air or attitude / (adjective) crazy touched / (adjective) excessively refined; precious / (adjective) quaintly unconventional; campy

187

gazing toward that full-blown flower whose fey petals curled and yellowed round its white spore-bearing carpel

—p.187 by William Gaddis
confirm
1 year, 8 months ago

gazing toward that full-blown flower whose fey petals curled and yellowed round its white spore-bearing carpel

—p.187 by William Gaddis
confirm
1 year, 8 months ago

(noun) a vital energy held to pervade nature and be a factor in health in the theories of Wilhelm Reich

194

Max was discussing orgone boxes as though he had lived in one all of his life.

—p.194 by William Gaddis
uncertain
1 year, 8 months ago

Max was discussing orgone boxes as though he had lived in one all of his life.

—p.194 by William Gaddis
uncertain
1 year, 8 months ago

(adjective) deficient in color; wan / (adjective) lacking sparkle or liveliness; dull

203

In thousands of rooms, as many men intently removed minuscule stubble from pallid chins

—p.203 by William Gaddis
notable
1 year, 8 months ago

In thousands of rooms, as many men intently removed minuscule stubble from pallid chins

—p.203 by William Gaddis
notable
1 year, 8 months ago

(noun) radiant splendor; brilliance

203

The city throbbed in gray effulgence, radiating motion

—p.203 by William Gaddis
uncertain
1 year, 8 months ago

The city throbbed in gray effulgence, radiating motion

—p.203 by William Gaddis
uncertain
1 year, 8 months ago

(adjective) marked by lack of definite plan, regularity, or purpose / (adjective) not connected with the main subject / (adjective) disappointing in progress, performance, or quality

232

They talked now in tones which recognized those of the other, and treated with accordingly, desultory tones and cursory remarks which might come close upon but never touch the eventuality which both appeared to await.

—p.232 by William Gaddis
notable
1 year, 8 months ago

They talked now in tones which recognized those of the other, and treated with accordingly, desultory tones and cursory remarks which might come close upon but never touch the eventuality which both appeared to await.

—p.232 by William Gaddis
notable
1 year, 8 months ago
242

—Is it nearly done? Brown demanded, standing over them.

—Yes, it is. It’s more than finished, really, he said looking up at Brown.

—More than finished?

—Yes, I . . . you know, it’s finished, it has to be . . . damaged now.

—That must be difficult, Basil Valentine said.

—It is, it’s the most difficult part. Not the actual damaging it, but damaging it without trying to preserve the parts that cost such . . . well, you know that’s where they fail, a good many . . . painters who do this kind of work, they can’t resist saving those parts, and anyone can tell, anyone can tell.

—p.242 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago

—Is it nearly done? Brown demanded, standing over them.

—Yes, it is. It’s more than finished, really, he said looking up at Brown.

—More than finished?

—Yes, I . . . you know, it’s finished, it has to be . . . damaged now.

—That must be difficult, Basil Valentine said.

—It is, it’s the most difficult part. Not the actual damaging it, but damaging it without trying to preserve the parts that cost such . . . well, you know that’s where they fail, a good many . . . painters who do this kind of work, they can’t resist saving those parts, and anyone can tell, anyone can tell.

—p.242 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago
243

—He would absolutely have to have Alexander Pope in a box, to enjoy him. He is beyond anything I’ve ever come upon. Honestly, I never in my life could have imagined that business could live so powerfully independent of every other faculty of the human intelligence. Basil Valentine rested his head back, blowing smoke toward the ceiling, and watching it rise there. —Earlier, you know, he mentioned to me the idea of a novel factory, a sort of assembly line of writers, each one with his own especial little job. Mass production, he said, and tailored to the public taste. But not so absurd, Basil Valentine said sitting forward suddenly.

—Yes, I . . . I know. I know.

—When I laughed . . . but it’s not so funny in his hands, you know. Just recently he started this business of submitting novels to a public opinion board, a cross-section of readers who give their opinions, and the author makes changes accordingly. Best sellers, of course.

—p.243 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago

—He would absolutely have to have Alexander Pope in a box, to enjoy him. He is beyond anything I’ve ever come upon. Honestly, I never in my life could have imagined that business could live so powerfully independent of every other faculty of the human intelligence. Basil Valentine rested his head back, blowing smoke toward the ceiling, and watching it rise there. —Earlier, you know, he mentioned to me the idea of a novel factory, a sort of assembly line of writers, each one with his own especial little job. Mass production, he said, and tailored to the public taste. But not so absurd, Basil Valentine said sitting forward suddenly.

—Yes, I . . . I know. I know.

—When I laughed . . . but it’s not so funny in his hands, you know. Just recently he started this business of submitting novels to a public opinion board, a cross-section of readers who give their opinions, and the author makes changes accordingly. Best sellers, of course.

—p.243 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago
250

—It’s not. It’s not, damn it, I . . . when I’m working, I . . . Do you think I do these the way all other forging has been done? Pulling the fragments of ten paintings together and making one, or taking a . . . a Dürer and reversing the composition so that the man looks to the right instead of left, putting a beard on him from another portrait, and a hat, a different hat from another, so that they look at it and recognize Dürer there? No, it’s . . . the recognitions go much deeper, much further back, and I . . . this . . . the X-ray tests, and ultra-violet and infra-red, the experts with their photomicrography and . . . macrophotography, do you think that’s all there is to it? Some of them aren’t fools, they don’t just look for a hat or a beard, or a style they can recognize, they look with memories that . . . go beyond themselves, that go back to . . . where mine goes.

—Sit down, my boy.

—And . . . any knock at the door may be the gold inspectors, come to see if I’m using bad materials down there, I . . . I’m a master painter in the Guild, in Flanders, do you see? And if they come in and find that I’m not using the . . . gold, they destroy the bad materials I’m using and fine me, and I . . . they demand that . . . and this exquisite color of ultramarine, Venice ultramarine I have to take to them for approval, and the red pigment, this brick-red Flanders pigment . . . because I’ve taken the Guild oath, not for the critics, the experts, the . . . you, you have no more to do with me than if you are my descendants, nothing to do with me, and you . . . the Guild oath, to use pure materials, to work in the sight of God . . .

—p.250 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago

—It’s not. It’s not, damn it, I . . . when I’m working, I . . . Do you think I do these the way all other forging has been done? Pulling the fragments of ten paintings together and making one, or taking a . . . a Dürer and reversing the composition so that the man looks to the right instead of left, putting a beard on him from another portrait, and a hat, a different hat from another, so that they look at it and recognize Dürer there? No, it’s . . . the recognitions go much deeper, much further back, and I . . . this . . . the X-ray tests, and ultra-violet and infra-red, the experts with their photomicrography and . . . macrophotography, do you think that’s all there is to it? Some of them aren’t fools, they don’t just look for a hat or a beard, or a style they can recognize, they look with memories that . . . go beyond themselves, that go back to . . . where mine goes.

—Sit down, my boy.

—And . . . any knock at the door may be the gold inspectors, come to see if I’m using bad materials down there, I . . . I’m a master painter in the Guild, in Flanders, do you see? And if they come in and find that I’m not using the . . . gold, they destroy the bad materials I’m using and fine me, and I . . . they demand that . . . and this exquisite color of ultramarine, Venice ultramarine I have to take to them for approval, and the red pigment, this brick-red Flanders pigment . . . because I’ve taken the Guild oath, not for the critics, the experts, the . . . you, you have no more to do with me than if you are my descendants, nothing to do with me, and you . . . the Guild oath, to use pure materials, to work in the sight of God . . .

—p.250 by William Gaddis 1 year, 8 months ago

(noun) a misrepresentation intended to harm another's reputation / (noun) the act of uttering false charges or misrepresentations maliciously calculated to harm another's reputation

250

It cheapens the whole . . . it’s a calumny, that’s what it is, on my work

—p.250 by William Gaddis
notable
1 year, 8 months ago

It cheapens the whole . . . it’s a calumny, that’s what it is, on my work

—p.250 by William Gaddis
notable
1 year, 8 months ago

(noun) a housing for a ship's compass and a lamp

268

his hands composed a shivering binnacle for what served, on this voyage, as a compass, a glass of whisky, perilously plumb between the gimbals of his fingers.

what the fuck lol

—p.268 by William Gaddis
unknown
1 year, 8 months ago

his hands composed a shivering binnacle for what served, on this voyage, as a compass, a glass of whisky, perilously plumb between the gimbals of his fingers.

what the fuck lol

—p.268 by William Gaddis
unknown
1 year, 8 months ago

in a way that cannot be removed or forgotten

276

she had thought of the indelible year of her birth

—p.276 by William Gaddis
notable
1 year, 8 months ago

she had thought of the indelible year of her birth

—p.276 by William Gaddis
notable
1 year, 8 months ago