Abbreviated Sources
and References

Annotations: title,
epigraph and

Part I

Part II

Part III
III.1 Synopsis
pp. 723-732
III.2 Synopsis
pp. 733-768
III.3 Synopsis
pp. 769-791
pp. 792-823
III.4 Synopsis
pp. 824-855
III.5 Synopsis
pp. 856-878
pp. 879-900
Epilogue Synopsis
pp. 901-937
pp. 938-956

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


III.5 Synopsis

Pages 856-900; spring 1950.

Back in Spain, a somewhat deranged Wyatt (the extent of whose madness is debatable), now called Stephen, is staying at the Real Monasterio (the same that Rev. Gwyon visited) restoring paintings. The novelist Ludy is also staying at the monastery, trying in vain to get into the religious spirit of things for the magazine article he plans to write. Ludy has two conversations with Stephen - the first while Stephen unknowingly eats bread containing his father's ashes - in which the reader learns that Stephen left Sinisterra in Madrid and went briefly to North Africa, where he encountered Han. His former companion assumed he had come to join him in the French Foreign Legion, became resentful when he discovered otherwise, then attacked Stephen, who thereupon shot him. Stephen fled back to the monastery to live through (rather than wallow in) his guilt, like Thoreau "to live deliberately" and to "simplify" (900), and he is last seen leaving the monastery, perhaps to find his and Pastora's daughter (see note to 802.44). In contrast to Stephen's finally achieving a kind of humanist authenticity, Ludy is last seen "having, or about to have, or at the very least valiantly fighting off, a religious experience" (900).


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