Thursday, December 02, 2004

Gaddis Live

Here's a new thread for this week's live drinking and reading experience. Feel free to hop in. (We can keep going tomorrow night and beyond, if you like.) Onward!


Blogger Rake said...

I'm starting with one of Derik's points/questions:

I want to find some significance to the fact that Wyatt is confused about it being dawn (it is really dusk) when the art critic Cremer visits him. Just another illusion example? Wyatt is fooled because he has no reason to think otherwise?Now here's the part of this passage I find especially interesting:

"He painted at night and often broke off in a fever at dawn, when the sun came like the light of recovery to the patient just past the crisis of fatal illness, and time the patient became lax, and stretched fingers of minutes and cold limbs of hours into the convalescent resurrection of the day." (p. 69)

This harkens back to Wyatt's illness, I think. Not sure if this is an answer, but it could be an echo of that part--"Afterwards Wyatt could not distinguish reality in these days, and the nights of the weeks just past...etc." (p. 51)--and also an indication of how Wyatt is simply a being out of sync with the rest of the world, time-wise (and otherwise). After all, he's working in "the style of the early Flemish" and is willfully ignorant of "surrealisme" and so on.

For what it's worth.

December 2, 2004 at 7:25 PM  
Blogger Rake said...

In the interest of filling dead air:

This week's booze is Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage. I'm a sucker for hand-labeled bottles--this one sez that my bourbon was barreled (in Barrel no. 455) on 10-24-94, at which time I was in my first semester of college, probably trying to beat myself to a merciful death with my thick copy of Philosophy In the Middle Ages.

December 2, 2004 at 7:48 PM  
Blogger Matthew Cheney said...

I have nothing even remotely intelligent to offer on the dawn/dusk stuff. I'm not sure I have much to say at all, actually -- this section seems so transitional that I'm wary of saying much of anything. The Paris stuff in Chapter II wasn't compelling to me, but I have an irrational dislike of that city. Meanwhile, since New York is my favorite city, I loved the section starting on page 100. I try not to be so subjective when reading, but there comes a point with a big book like this where appreciation of technique just won't get you through pages and pages of material that holds no interest.

What I found on my first reading, and even more so this time, is that just when I get to the point where I want to toss the book out the window, thinking that a close reading of a math textbook would be more compelling, a sentence or a paragraph or a page appears that seems to be the most beautiful, witty, extraordinary thing I've ever read, and that propels me forward again, in search of more, more, more. Even with this week's section, which overall didn't do a lot for me, there were breathtaking moments -- for instance, I had vividly remembered from my first reading the moment on pp. 130-131 where Otto's writing of his character George takes over for a moment. We see similar moments in lots of books and movies; some good, some not, but I've seen nothing like this, where the moment is not only interesting in and of itself, but carries such weight and resonance.

I've got to run and do some work, but I'll check back in later if I get a chance.


December 2, 2004 at 8:15 PM  
Blogger CAAF said...

CAAF here. In from the pub, where I won at cricket (hurrah!). Nothing much to say, as I stood up WG this week to reread Lolita. So can we talk about Naby too?

December 2, 2004 at 8:28 PM  
Blogger gwenda said...

I stood up Mr. Gaddis too, but refuse to say for what. (Hendrick's? Veuve?) Anyway.

I promise to at least skim this week's passage en route to catching up next week... especially if I stay away from all the supermodelesque (read: thin, damn anorexic next to WG) books strewn about.

December 2, 2004 at 10:09 PM  
Blogger Rake said...

Anyone in the house? Anyone up for a Friday night adventure, perhaps?

December 3, 2004 at 12:01 AM  
Blogger Rake said...

Oh, and CAAF, we can always talk Naby. Carry (get it?) on.

December 3, 2004 at 12:07 AM  
Blogger DerikB said...

Sorry, Rake, I was out too late to come back and discuss.

But unlike some others (shame, shame), I'm still on track. I've found that if I spend a few good long chunks of time with Gaddis, I can get the week's reading done and spent the rest of my week's reading time reading other slimmer books.

December 3, 2004 at 11:22 AM  
Blogger Jimmy said...

Hey y'all. I'm neither reading Gaddis nor drinking, unfortunately. Rather, I'm sitting here at 5:55 AM on Saturday morning for no good goddamn reason. While composing an extended flame about my job and its fucked-up exigencies, my eyes fell upon the new issue of The Missouri Review, which features three unpublished stories by WG. Maybe you know about them already. They are remarkably short--20 pp total for the three. The opening sentence to "Jake's Dog":

Mrs. Fournier lived alone in a fair-sized yellow frame house, the one her husband had built for her when they came down from British Columbia, or wherever it was that head made his money in lumber.

There's also a short introductory bio by Crystal Alberts and Speer Morgan waxes enthusiastic about The Man, too. Elsewhere, the issue also features an interview with Rick "Ah fuck it, I'll split these sixes" Barthelme.

Okay, as you were: bottoms up, skol, l'chaim.

December 4, 2004 at 6:05 AM  
Blogger DerikB said...

Thanks, Jimmy. I haven't heard about those. Now to find a copy of the Missouri Review somewhere.

December 4, 2004 at 10:58 PM  
Blogger DerikB said...

For the interested, I know have pdfs of the Gaddis short stories (pre/during Recognitions, apparently) and the accompanying introduction.

December 6, 2004 at 6:02 PM  

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