Thursday, December 29, 2005


It was on this day in 1916 that James Joyce (books by this author)
published his first novel Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. It
started out as a long autobiographical novel called Stephen Hero. He
estimated that the book would have fifty chapters and be about 1,000
pages long. He had written about 900 pages of Stephen Hero before he
decided that it was too conventional, too Victorian. In a fit of
disgust he destroyed most of the manuscript. Only a short fragment was
ever found. He started over again and in the new version of the novel
he concentrated less on the events of the main character's life and
more on his developing consciousness. When he finally published it the
book established his reputation as a writer.

It's the birthday of novelist William Gaddis, (books by this author),
born in New York (1922). He wrote The Recognitions (1955), J.R.
(1975), and A Frolic of His Own (1994). But even though he's been
called one of the most important writers of the 20th century his books
have never sold very well. He once received a royalty check for four
dollars and thirty-five cents.

He died in 1998. His last novel Agape Agape was published after his
death in 2002.

William Gaddis said, "There have never in history been so many
opportunities to do so many things that aren't worth doing."


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