Essays History Of The Piano

The following summer, Gaddis made his first appearance in a national magazine with Stop Player. Previously, it took real talent and dedication to play the piano, but with this invention anyone could play.There was an ad in a 1925 Saturday Evening Post for the player piano (which Gaddis saw and later quoted) that even elevated its operator above true pianists: You can play better by roll than many who play by hand, it promised.Mechanization of the arts ran parallel to the mechanization of people by means of efficiency studies, standardized testing, and various methods of measurement and evaluation more suited to machinery than people.

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Perhaps struggling with would be a more accurate phrase, because its a book that he abandoned decades ago as hopeless, beyond even his superhuman abilities, and in fact he dramatized his struggle in those pages of J R that feature Jack Gibbs working on a book with the same title.

The version that will eventually be published is considerably different from the one Gaddis began writing five decades ago, so Id like to describe how this troublesome book evolved over the years.

When the obituaries appeared for William Gaddis a week before Christmas 1998, one piece of good news surfaced in those otherwise dismal announcements, namely, that Gaddis had finished a new book shortly before his death.

This final book, with the rather ungainly title Agapē Agape, is a project he had been working on all his professional life.

Agape, Steven Moore gave this interim report on this last and perhaps most disturbing of Gaddis's work.

It was delivered at the international colloquium "Reading William Gaddis" in Orlans, France, March 24-25, 2000.

But after The Recognitions appeared, Gaddis returned to the subject and began exploring more of the implications of mechanical reproduction. As you may or may not know, the player piano uses paper rolls with rectangular holes punched in them.

And as you certainly remember from your youth, computers originally used cards punched in the same way.

This unnamed character first asks her if she knows anything about player pianos, and when she answers in the negative, he boasts that hes spent two years writing a history of the player piano, and regales her with a list of famous people who owned them (579).

Here Gaddis treats the subject in a self-deprecatory way, and indeed a book solely on the player piano would be of limited interest.

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