Los reconocimientos, de William Gaddis (recopilación)

Así a posteriori, desde la distancia, desde la asimilación de un texto, desde desde que se inicia ese lapso de tiempo en el que la memoria convierte en algo tuyo, propio, una obra ajena, (no desde la emoción suscitada por la reciente lectura), puedo pensar que lo que Gaddis quería decirnos es que nuestra sociedad es demasiado frágil para contener una obra maestra. Me refiero a una auténtica obra maestra. Ya sabemos, lectores gaddisianos, fanáticos (pues no puede ser de otra manera), que la ejecución de una obra maestra trae consecuencias desastrosas.
Los reconocimientos de Gaddis es una novela demoledora. La sociedad la seguirá ignorando porque de otra forma deberían rendirse ante la evidencia: NO se puede escribir como Gaddis, NO se puede construir una narración como lo hacia Gaddis. Y no solo eso, todas nuestras novelas, todos nuestros textos, todos nuestros relatos, palidecen a la sombra de la inmensidad narrativa de Gaddis.
Si la sociedad reconociese la existencia de una auténtica obra maestra, la producción artística en ese campo debería detenerse necesariamente para siempre. O hasta la aparición de una nueva obra maestra.
Para eso hay que establecer una interminable cadena de intento-fracaso hasta que el feliz suceso ocurra de nuevo.

Franzen llamó a su novela Las correcciones en homenaje a Los reconocimientos de Gaddis (cada vez que escucho alguna de sus declaraciones me cae peor)
En fin.

Por fin el día ha llegado. Sexto Piso ha recuperado la traducción que Juan Antonio Santos hizo de la novela de Gaddis y le ha añadido el fantástico prólogo de William H. Gass.

Sinceramente yo no dejaría pasar la ocasión de tener/leer esta magnífica novela. 

Aparte de lo que escribí en su momento, poco más puedo añadir:

5 comentarios:

Anónimo dijo...

I completely agree with this assessment of "The Recognitions". It's such a pity that the world wasn't ready for it when it first appeared, and that Gaddis had to plunge into the drudgery of corporate writing after the "failure" of his magnum opus. Suffice it to read the notorious "Fire the Bastards!" The "Recognitions" is a staggering achievement. Who else could have come up with such a debut novel? Not even Pynchon with V.

Erremedé dijo...

Qué ganas de leer a Gaddis. Gracias a Sextopiso podré hacerlo cronológicamente (impagable su labor, como con Barth, aunque para leerlo también tenga que esperar a que editen sus sus dos primeras novelas). Por cierto, después de leer tu queja sobre su escueta página en wikipedia, me animé a "engordarla". ¿Ahora mismo te parece Gaddis el mejor escritor norteamericano?

En fin, saludos Javier. Y gracias por tu labor.

j dijo...

Day: I’m interested to know what you think of Jonathan Franzen’s recent New Yorker article, “Mr. Difficult: William Gaddis and the Problem of Hard-to-Read Books.” Franzen calls the authors of difficult fiction angry showoffs whose aversion to compromise make their books unreadable. In addition to Gaddis’ The Recognitions and J R, he groups in Remembrance of Things Past, Naked Lunch, and, a bit bafflingly, Moby-Dick and Don Quixote. He goes on to say that the characters in difficult fiction are little more than cardboard cutouts intended to stand in for the “satirical judgments and intellectual obsessions” of their authors, and that their stylistic trickery serves only to “discourage intimacy” with the reader. He suggests that Gaddis, in this sense, betrayed him. That he’s performed a kind of violation of pact by not producing the contractual, entertainment-based model of fiction that Franzen seems to be in favor of here. What do you see as the writer’s duty to the reader, and why should we take the time to read The Recognitions? Why should we take the time to read hard books at all?

William H. Gass: Difficult? Hard to read? Is the light bad? “Mr. Hackett turned the corner and saw, in the failing light, at some little distance, his seat.” Is this opening sentence of Watt, difficult? To be sure, the light is failing. But a grade past Dick and Jane can do it. “Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed.” Even an American high school kid should have no trouble with this. Of course, in our innocence, we will almost certainly slide by the ritualistic mock Christian symbolism secreted in the sentence like some spy’s cipher. Later, we shall realize the level of care at which the text has been composed, and we shall have to think back to the passage and reunderstand it. “A yellow dressing gown, ungirded, was sustained gently behind him by the mild morning air. He held the bowl aloft and intoned: lntroibo ad altare Dei.” That’s how far forward—one line—we have to go before we realize we’ve got to go back to the foaming bowl and razor. If we don’t know Latin—well, yes, that passage will be difficult to read. But gee—which is the letter that should awaken us to this masterpiece—gee will not waken us until we’ve had a bit of training, a little course in the close read. A few more lines with Mr. Hackett will do the same because Beckett is a great contrapuntist. Lack of knowledge, lack of training, attention deficiencies, lack of tantalizing sex or scandal in the text, lack of time and energy in the reader (has turned many a one from Proust and Musil), dire courses of events, gloomy prognostications, put others down in dumps they were reading to escape from: conditions of this sort made the reader “unwilling” or “unable” to continue. None of them make the work “difficult.”

And the simply gorgeous music of “a yellow dressing gown (pause) ungirded . . .” etc, the slow long ohs of “he held the bowl aloft and intoned—introibo . . . ” etc. These do satisfy the souls of some poor saps to such a degree they are willing to earn an advanced one in order to experience the thrill. Odd, indeed, but not ominous, not mean.

j dijo...

Why should I be able to read every book I pick up? As a matter of fact, I can’t. Why shouldn’t I be uninterested in some things and interested in others? So about canoes, I am passionate, but about schooners, I am blasé or bored. But there is a rumor going around in certain quarters that if you don’t swoon over Joyce and Henry James, if you turn a deaf ear to Schoenberg, if you find Ashbery too convex and Chaucer too ancient, if Kandinsky is a mess, and Rothko unmoving, then you ain’t got any god damn culture. Most people don’t care if they don’t enjoy Monteverdi and prefer hippity-hop to the cabbage plot. Nor should they care. But there are those unfortunate others who are angry they aren’t applauded by the Handelites or praised by Proustians. They have high taste, too. In fact, their level of happy mediocrity is the level at which all life should be lived. It is a tendency we all share to think our ways are the ways.

So writers owe these readers the courtesy of soliciting their praise. But for a moment Mr. Franzen feared the praise of the dark lady would damage his reputation among the literati—Never fear, sir, your reputation among the literati is safe. What basically bothers Gore Vidal, Tom Wolfe, and other journalists is that news ages badly while many of these damn difficult books get better, stronger, more beautiful, and even easier, as the years pass. That’s just how it is.
I can understand how annoying it might be to be told that this gibberish is good stuff. But I won’t tell a soul.

I owe readers nothing whatever. I owe my art (such as it is) everything. I also do what I can to warn readers who may prove to be the wrong ones away from my work . Gaddis does the same. The Recognitions never pretends to be a paid-for whore who must deliver her pleasures like Playboy page by page. Only trash tries to be compelling. You are always free to leave Musil in Vienna. There are plenty of books that will amuse the mind for a pair of hours, though a movie would be less demanding and you can sleep while it moves.

A bunch of us tricksters answered Mr. Franzen (I thought it unwise to take any notice) in Conjunctions recently. The responses turned out to be tributes to Gaddis who apparently hasn’t disappointed everybody. I made my answer, indirect enough, there.

Joan Flores Constans dijo...

Admirado Javier: voy a publicar en mi blog algunas notas acerca de la lectura de "Los reconocimientos"y me he permitido enlazar, citándote, con este post de recopilación. Espero que no te importe, pero si tienes algún reparo no dudes en comunicármelo. Un abrazo.