Transmutations to 'tics': Explorations in symbolic and stylistic narrative shifts in William Gaddis's "The Recognitions" and "JR"
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Even today, William Gaddis is seen as one of the greatest and least read writers of the late 20 th century. As his works attempted to become more accessible to the reading public (an effort that admittedly did not work), a distinct shift was noticeable in both theme and structure within his novels. My argument is that such a shift while present in all of Gaddis's works is most extreme between the writing of The Recognitions and JR . I examine the reasons behind the 'why' and 'how' for this shift through a variety of different ways (close reading, biographical information, prior criticism, theoretical concepts that complement the cognitive-aesthetic practices of Gaddis, etc.). The argument is an attempt to pave a new direction for what I have seen as a branch of scholarly criticism that is mostly comprised of repetitive and lackluster efforts. Ultimately, this paper serves as both a critique on Gaddis's novels as well as a critique on (Gaddis) criticism itself.