Paper Empire: William Gaddis and the World System

Paper Empire: William Gaddis and the World System

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Overview

Paper Empire: William Gaddis and the World System by Joseph Tabbi

Celebrates and illuminates the legacy of one of America’s most innovative and consequential 20th century novelists.

In 2002, following the posthumous publication of William Gaddis’s collected nonfiction and his final novel and Jonathan Franzen’s lengthy attack on him in The New Yorker, a number of partisan articles appeared in support of Gaddis’s legacy. In a review in The London Review of Books, critic Hal Foster suggested a reason for disparate responses to Gaddis’s reputation: Gaddis’s unique hybridity, his ability to “write in the gap between two dispensations,—between science and literature, theory and narrative, and —different orders of linguistic imagination.—

Gaddis (1922-1998) is often cited as the link between literary modernism and postmodernism in the United States. His novels—The Recognitions, JR, Carpenter’s Gothic, and A Frolic of His Own—are notable in the ways that they often restrict themselves to the language and communication systems of the worlds he portrays. Issues of corporate finance, the American legal system, economics, simulation and authenticity, bureaucracy, transportation, and mass communication permeate his narratives in subject, setting, and method. The essays address subjects as diverse as cybernetics theory, the law, media theory, race and class, music, and the perils and benefits of globalization. The collection also contains a memoir by Gaddis’s son, an unpublished interview with Gaddis from just after the publication of JR, and an essay on the Gaddis archive, newly opened at Washington University in St. Louis.

The editors acknowledge that we live in an age of heightened global awareness. But as these essays testify, few American writers have illuminated as poignantly or incisively just how much the systemic forces of capitalism and mass communication have impacted individual lives and identity—imparting global dimensions to private pursuits and desires—than William Gaddis.

Contributors: Crystal Alberts, Klaus Benesch, Nicholas Brown, Stephen Burn, Jeff Bursey, Anne Furlong, Tom LeClair, Joseph McElroy, Steven Moore, Stephen Schryer, Rone Shavers, Nicholas Spencer, Joseph Tabbi, Michael Wutz, Anja Zeidler

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780817354060
Publisher: University of Alabama Press
Publication date: 02/28/2007
Edition description: 1st Edition
Pages: 328
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Joseph Tabbi is author of Cognitive Fictions, Reading Matters: Narrative in the New Media Ecology and Postmodern Sublime: Technology and American Writing from Mailer to Cyberpunk.

Rone Shavers is a Ph.D candidate in English at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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