Fun Facts Friday: William Gaddis

December 29, 2023

William Gaddis (29 December, 1922 – 16 December, 1998) was an American novelist and satirist. Mr. Gaddis is known for his novel, The Recognitions which was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 best novels.

Fun Facts Friday: William GaddisBooks by William Gaddis*

Fun Facts about William Gaddis:

  1. William Thomas Gaddis Jr. was born in New York City to William and Edith Gaddis. His father’s work was vague, but his mother worked her way up from a secretary to an executive at the New York Steam Corporation.
  2. When the future author was three years old, his parents got divorced and he moved with his mother to Massapeque, Long Island.
  3. In 1941 Mr. Gaddis entered Harvard, where he eventually became President of the Harvard Lampoon. However, due to altercations with the police he was asked to leave in 1994, before graduating.
  4. After having a short-term job as a fact checker with the New York Times, Mr. Gaddis spent five years traveling in Mexico, Central America, North Africa, England, France, and Spain.
  5. His first novel, The Recognitions , was pummeled by critics when it was released in 1955. They thought it was overwritten, disgusting, and found complex, dense, and packed with references narrative too intellectual.
  6. That same year, William Gaddis married Patsy Thompson Black, a model and across from North Carolina. The couple had two children, Sarah Gaddis who wrote the novel Swallow Hard (1991), and Matthew Gaddis. The marriage disintegrated in 1965.
  7. William Gaddis started working in public relations, promoting documentary films, to make al living. Among his clients were the US Army, Kodak, and IBM.
  8. In 1968 the author married journalist Judith Thompson and separated in 1978. His last relationship was with Muriel Murphy Oxenberg, they lived together until 1994. The author lived alone until he passed away.
  9. Mr. Gaddis was elected to be one of the 60 members of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1989.
  10. William Gaddis is considered to be one of the greatest American novelists. Johnathan Franzen called him “an old literary hero of mine”. Jack Kerouac based his character Harold Sand (The Subterraneans, 1958) on Mr. Gaddis.

Books by William Gaddis*

Zohar — Man of la Book
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books

Sources:

William Gaddis | Britannica

William Gaddis | Wikipedia

WILLIAM GADDIS New York State Author, 1993-1995 | University at Albany

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Fun Facts Friday: William Gaddis
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Fun Facts Friday: William Gaddis
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William Gaddis (29 December, 1922 – 16 December, 1998) was an American novelist and satirist. Mr. Gaddis is known for his novel, The Recognitions which was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 best novels.
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