Brigitte Felix: If I may ask the same question, phrasing it differently: Jack Gibbs says at one point “Most god damned readers rather be at the movies because when you walk in to the movies you walk in empty-handed and leave much the same way.” What do you think your readers walk out with, after reading J R, for example?
William Gaddis: [after a long pause] I suppose . . . here’s the heart of the matter, he’s drawn a picture of . . . In J R someone is repeatedly saying “This is what America is all about.” It’s buried usually under paragraphs, but this is what America is all about. I suppose that one wants the reader to put the book down finally, having finished it — not after starting it, which is the case, frequently — and say, Yes, that’s what America is all about: it is a paper empire, it’s Gresham’s Law, the bad drives out the good, and so forth . . .