the state of things, 1955

“—No I, it’s just, listen, criticism? It’s the most important art now, it’s the one we need most now. Criticism is the art we need most today. But not, don’t you see? not the ‘if I’d done it myself . . .’ Yes, a, a disciplined nostalgia, disciplined recognitions but not, no, listen, what is the favor? Why did you come here?”

(Gaddis, The Recognitions, p. 335)


“Though Sir John Mandeville (in his Travels, among the earliest and most heroic of plagiaries in the French) confessed, “Of Paradise I cannot speak properly, for I was not there”: what matter? Here above, the concrete cliffs had disappeared, only their lights studding darkness which posed as space and postured firmament.”

(The Recognitions, p. 387.)