William Gaddis

Peter Dempsey (University of Sunderland)
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William Gaddis was born in Manhattan, New York City in 1922, a year which saw the publication of two of the great works of literary modernism, Joyce’s


and Eliot’s

The Waste Land

, whose techniques of multi-voiced narration and literary allusion would have a profound effect on Gaddis’s own working methods. In the early 1940s he attended Harvard but left without a degree. After working as a fact-checker at

The New Yorker

in the mid-1940s, he travelled to Europe, North Africa, Spain and South America and wrote his first novel, the monumental

The Recognitions

(1955). This ambitious and allusive work, nearly one thousand pages long, took the theme of art forgery, counterfeiting and fraud as a grim metaphor for contemporary social and political relations and met with mostly…

1312 words

Citation: Dempsey, Peter. "William Gaddis". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 11 December 2002 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=1665, accessed 15 July 2024.]

1665 William Gaddis 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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