Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Gaddis Interview

The Center for Book Culture has what they claim to be the only interview of Gaddis published in the United States. Gaddis would only consent to be interviewed by mail, and it's a pretty short interview. Here's one of the better passages vis a vis Recognitions:

WG: The story that "The Recognitions" was edited down to its present size from a much longer manuscript must have gained currency from a hasty review of my papers by someone who came across fragments there that I'd rejected myself. In a work of that length and time in the writing some of it was rewritten repeatedly, some scarcely at all, some cut, tossed out, recovered and placed elsewhere, some later inserted, some sequences worried at and tossed out entire.



5 Comments:

Blogger DerikB said...

The Paris Review did one too, which I have somewhere.

November 9, 2004 at 11:37 AM  
Blogger CAAF said...

Maybe they counted "The Paris Review" one as having been published in France. Heh.

November 9, 2004 at 9:11 PM  
Blogger Matthew Cheney said...

It's Paris Review 105, Winter 1987. Don't know if it was reprinted in any of the Writers at Work books. Here's a taste:

INTERVIEWER
Can you reconstruct what was involved in your getting started with The Recognitions?

GADDIS
I think first it was that towering kind of confidence of being quite young, that one can do anything -- "All's brave that youth mounts and folly guides," as we're told in As You Like It. The Recognitions started as a short piece of work, quite undirected, but based on the Faust story. Then as I got into the idea of forgery, the entire concept of forgery became -- I wouldn't say an obsession -- but a central part of everything I thought and saw; so the book expanded from simply the central character of the forger to forgery, falsification and cheapening of values and what have you, everywhere. Looking at it now with its various faults, I suppose excess would be the main charge. I remember Clive Bell looking back on his small fine book Art, thirty-five years after it was published in 1913, and listing its faults, finding it too confident and aggressive, even too optimistic -- I was never accused of that! -- but still feeling, as he said, "a little envious of the adventurous young man who wrote it."

November 9, 2004 at 10:56 PM  
Blogger DerikB said...

Hey Matthew, welcome. Care to join the reading?

I have the Paris Review interview (in photocopy). I'll see if I can pick out some other interesting Recognitions related tidbits.

Also found an interview/speech from the "New York State Writers" tapes, of which, more later.

November 10, 2004 at 9:01 AM  
Blogger Matthew Cheney said...

Hey Matthew, welcome. Care to join the reading?Okay, I can't resist. I was trying to resist, but now you've got Gwenda and Dan Green and I'd just feel like the last kid picked for kickball if I didn't throw myself into this. Let me know what I need to do.

November 10, 2004 at 10:38 PM  

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