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Dalkey Archive Press
<p><strong>Now recognized as one of the giants of postwar American fiction, William Gaddis (1922–98), author of <em>The Recognitions</em> and <em>J R</em>, shunned the spotlight during his life, which makes this collection of his letters a revelation: an intimate look at one of the great literary minds of the 20th century.</strong></p>Now recognized as one of the giants of postwar American fiction, William Gaddis (1922–98) shunned the spotlight during his life, which makes this collection of his letters a revelation. Beginning in 1930 when Gaddis was at boarding-school and ending in September 1998, a few months before his death, these letters function as a kind of autobiography, and are all the more valuable because Gaddis was not an autobiographical writer. Here we see him forging his first novel <em>The Recognitions</em> (1955) while living in Mexico, fighting in a revolution in Costa Rica, and working in Spain, France, and North Africa. Over the next twenty years he struggles to find time to write the National Book Award-winning <em>J R</em> (1975) amid the complications of work and family; deals with divorce and disillusionment before reviving his career with <em>Carpenter’s Gothic</em> (1985); then teaches himself enough about the law to indite <em>A Frolic of His Own</em> (1994), which earned him another NBA. Returning to a topic he first wrote about in the 1940s, he finishes his last novel <em>Agapē Agape</em> as he lay dying.