April 26, 2013 1:43 AM Subscribe
Mysterious Skin: The Realia of William GaddisFor the dilettante, as opposed to the scholar, the great thing about realia is that it is what it is, initially just objects on their own, whereas the notes and the drafts and the manuscripts all connect and threaten to pool together, drowning you in their paper mass. While a scholar might want to, say, do a study on the various corporate jobs that Gaddis held for most of his adult life and see how his various written reports have cycled back into his fiction—my sources at the library say that several different scholars have traveled from far and wide to undertake this “unique” study—the dilettante just wants to take a starry-eyed stroll through the museum of mundane objects. A zebra skin, a player-piano roll and a pair of women’s shoes. Any one of them is just the kind of artifact that could be found by accident at a quality estate sale, yet the fact that these once were part of the rote material life of a reclusive and complex novelist make the dilettante want to hunt them out and take a closer look, one by one.
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Link to the William Gaddis Collection at Washington University, St. Louis
More about Sheri Martinelli: wikipedia
; A Modernist Muse