Preface

Abbreviated Sources
and References


Annotations: title,
epigraph and
dedication


Part I

Part II

Part III

A Reader's Guide to William Gaddis's The Recognitions

      Index    

Annotations: title, epigraph and dedication

title]
The Recognitions: the title of a third-century "theological romance" attributed to Clement of Rome (see 373.1 ff.). In his working notes for the novel Gaddis wrote: "The Recognitions as title I like perfectly because it implies the impossibility of escape from a (the) pattern"; and elsewhere: "THE RECOGNITIONS is I think in the first place a simple lable [sic], deceptively simple perhaps, and all the better" (quoted in Koenig's "'Splinters from the Yew Tree,'" 13, 85). One form or another of the word recognition appears in the following places: 22.21, 51.31, 66.37, 68.13, 78.epigraph, 84.24, 88.15, 91.42, 92.6, 98.6, 107.36, 123.9, 139.37, 152.12, 206.10, 207.20, 220.27, 232.43, 250.17, 250.17-18, 250.22, 269.19, 275.44, 285.4, 288.38, 292.21, 303.7, 303.18, 306.20, 306.40, 322.14, 325.30, 332.15, 335.19, 343.epigraph, 373.1, 384.24, 405.35, 414.6, 414.9, 417.21, 451.41, 453.28, 458.35, 472.29, 477.8, 487.epig! raph, 490.6, 501.42, 507.39, 508.16, 516.21, 517.34, 535.2, 543.31, 552.9, 552.15, 552.18, 563.3, 564.6, 616.34, 621.43, 644.16, 744.8, 758.7, 758.11, 759.14, 759.43, 761.17, 762.6, 762.22, 762.23, 767.44, 771.42, 782.6, 859.26, 863.23, 865.35, 901.epigraph. 936.30-31.
Click here for a complete list including the setting for each appearance.

The dragon eating its tail on the title page is the alchemical uroborus, symbol of the opus alchymicum in "that the opus proceeds from one thing and leads back again to the One" (IP 227).

epigraph] Nihil cavum sine signo apud Deum. - Irenaeus, Adversus haereses: "In God nothing is empty of sense: nihil vacuum neque sine signo apud Deum, said Saint Irenaeus. So the conviction of a transcendental meaning in all things seeks to formulate itself. About the figure of the Divinity a majestic system of correlated figures crystallizes, which all have reference to Him, because all things derive their meaning from Him" (WMA 183-84; the source of Gaddis's variant is unknown). Irenaeus (fl. 130-200), bishop of Lyons, is considered the first great ecclesiastical writer; Foxe relates the story of his martyrdom (BM 13). His Against Heresies (187?) is a long and tedious refutation of Gnosticism (and other current heresies) and an exposition of primitive Catholicism.

dedication] For Sarah | The awakened, lips parted, the hope, the new ships: not added until the 1993 Penguin edition - Sarah Gaddis is the author's only daughter, and the quotation is from the conclusion of T. S. Eliot's 1930 poem "Marina."

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