Gaddis is one of the most important American writers of the 20th century. His success but appeared only late. After high school graduation he began in 1941 a study of literature at Harvard University, but he had to leave because of bad behavior after four years. He worked for the New Yorker magazine and later as a documentary filmmaker for the U.S. Army.
In 1955 he published his first, more than a thousand -page novel, The Recognitions (Eng. The falsification of the world). As a source of inspiration for him was the art forger Han van Meegeren. The Recognitions was panned by critics and largely spurned by the audience, but developed around the novel a small religious community.
Only in 1975 he published his second novel, JR, in which an eleven year old boy builds a multibillion dollar financial empire. The villain, played by Larry Hagman in the TV series Dallas was named after him. For JR Gaddis received a 1976 first National Book Award; a second was awarded to him for his fourth novel, A Frolic of his own, who the American judicial system for object 1994.
Rather a longer essay - - Postum the " novel" are Agapé Agape in 2002 and published an anthology with other texts.
Honors and Awards
- The Recognitions. Harcourt Brace, New York 1955 German: The falsification of the world. Zweitausendeins, Frankfurt am Main 1998
- German: JR. Zweitausendeins, Frankfurt am Main 1996, new edition: Translated by Markus Ingendaay; German publishing house, Munich 2010 ISBN 978-3-421-04491-4
- German: The Redeemer. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1988
- German: Last instance. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1996
- German: The mechanical piano. Goldmann, Munich 2003
- Special edition in one volume: Agapé Agape and Other Writings. Atlantic, London 2004
- Last minute panic. First broadcast: Germany Radio, March 13, 1999