with quotations from Steven Moore's William Gaddis,
Boston: Twayne, 1989.
CAMILLA "For Wyatt [she is] the idealized figure Graves
calls the White Goddess – at once girl, mother, and hag, and
patroness of the white magic of art." (27)
ESME "One of the strangest yet memorable heroines in
contemporary literature, Esme betrays the absurdities of the role
of romantic redemptress forced upon so many female characters by
males who prefer virgins and whores to any more complex woman in
ESTHER "Esther is rational, big-boned, ambitious, and
writes prose." (46)
AGNES DEIGH "Agnes and her flock skip over friendship
and its perils and simply exchange the 'flowers' of friendship –
[…] empty civilities that counterfeit sincere friendship."
WYATT "Wyatt – like every true mystic, alchemist,
and magician before him – searches for a window on that transcendent
state where suddenly "Everything [is] freed into one recognition"
(R, 92)." (16)
REVEREND GWYON "Reverend Gwyon abandons his son first
for the Son, then for the Sun." (57)
OTTO "a comic double, a funhouse mirror reflection
of the 'refugee artist,' […] a ludicrous counterpart to Wyatt."
RECKTALL BROWN "Gaddis arrays Brown in all the trappings
of the twentieth-century devil, a Mammon of the modern world."
BASIL VALENTINE "Graced with taste, intelligence, and
'the best education money can buy' (R, 364), Valentine uses these
gifts to place as much distance as possible between himself and
ANSELM "Anselm is an enemy not of the religious but
of the religiose. [He] veers violently between fierce blasphemy
and a grudging respect for Christ's teachings." (55)
STANLEY "Reminiscent of Dostoyevski's Prince Myshkin
or Alyosha Karamazov, Stanley is the holy fool of The Recognitions,
moving through its sordid scenes with unassailable purity and goodwill."
FRANK SINISTERRA "A comic voice in the novel's aesthetic
debate, Sinisterra exemplifies the danger of overreliance on heartless
MR. PIVNER "At the quiet center of the novel, Mr. Pivner
is Gaddis's Willy Loman, and his failure is a similar tragedy for
the common man." (60)