William Gaddis Quote

Images surround us; cavorting broadcast in the minds of others, we wear the motley tailored by their bad digestions, the shame and failure, plague pandemics and private indecencies, unpaid bills, and animal ecstasies remembered in hospital beds, our worst deeds and best intentions will not stay still, scolding, mocking, or merely chattering they assail each other, shocked at recognition. Sometimes simplicity serves, though even the static image of Saint John Baptist received prenatal attentions (six months along, leaping for joy in his mother's womb when she met Mary who had conceived the day before): once delivered he stands steady in a camel's hair loincloth at a ford in the river, morose, ascetic on locusts and honey, molesting passers-by, upbraiding the flesh on those who wear it with pleasure. And the Nazarene whom he baptized? Three years pass, in a humility past understanding: and then death, disappointed? unsuspecting? and the body left on earth, the one which was to rule the twelve tribes of Israel, and on earth, left crying out - Hopelessly ascendent in resurrection, the image is pegged on the wind by an epileptic tentmaker, his strong hands stretch the canvas of faith into a gaudy caravanserai, shelter for travelers wearied of the burning sand, lured by forgetfulness striped crimson and gold, triple-tiered, visible from afar, redolent of the east, and level and wide the sun crashes the fist of reality into that desert where the truth still walks barefoot.

William Gaddis

Images surround us; cavorting broadcast in the minds of others, we wear the motley tailored by their bad digestions, the shame and failure, plague pandemics and private indecencies, unpaid bills, and animal ecstasies remembered in hospital beds, our worst deeds and best intentions will not stay still, scolding, mocking, or merely chattering they assail each other, shocked at recognition. Sometimes simplicity serves, though even the static image of Saint John Baptist received prenatal attentions (six months along, leaping for joy in his mother's womb when she met Mary who had conceived the day before): once delivered he stands steady in a camel's hair loincloth at a ford in the river, morose, ascetic on locusts and honey, molesting passers-by, upbraiding the flesh on those who wear it with pleasure. And the Nazarene whom he baptized? Three years pass, in a humility past understanding: and then death, disappointed? unsuspecting? and the body left on earth, the one which was to rule the twelve tribes of Israel, and on earth, left crying out - Hopelessly ascendent in resurrection, the image is pegged on the wind by an epileptic tentmaker, his strong hands stretch the canvas of faith into a gaudy caravanserai, shelter for travelers wearied of the burning sand, lured by forgetfulness striped crimson and gold, triple-tiered, visible from afar, redolent of the east, and level and wide the sun crashes the fist of reality into that desert where the truth still walks barefoot.

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About William Gaddis

William Thomas Gaddis, Jr. (December 29, 1922 – December 16, 1998) was an American novelist.
The first and longest of his five novels, The Recognitions, was named one of TIME magazine's 100 best novels from 1923 to 2005
and two others, J R and A Frolic of His Own, won the annual U.S. National Book Award for Fiction.
A collection of his essays was published posthumously as The Rush for Second Place (2002). The Letters of William Gaddis was published by Dalkey Archive Press in February 2013.
A MacArthur Fellow, Gaddis is widely considered one of the first and most important American postmodern writers.