Irving, John: The World According to Garp
(researched by Adam Doskey)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
John Irving. The World According to Garp. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1978. Copyright 1976, 1977, 1978 by John Irving Published simultaneously in Canada by Clarke, Irwin & Company Limited, Toronto and Vancouver.
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
The first American edition is published in hardcover binding.
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
224 leaves, pp. [10] [1-2] 3-437 [438]
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
The first edition is neither edited nor introduced. The dedication reads: ?for Colin and Brendan?
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
There are no illustrations.
7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available
8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)
The presentation of the text is attractive. The typography is readable and the book is well-printed. Text is 82R. Font is uniform throughout, with the exception of pp. 98-128, 286-316, which are done in a style that imitates typewriter font. Dimensions of the page: 155 mm x 235 mm Dimensions of the text on the page: 113 mm x 175 mm Side Margin: 25 mm Top Margin: 25 mm Bottom Margin: 35 mm Chapters are numbered with ornamental line of five diamonds below the numeral, with chapter title beneath the ornamental line. The first letter of the opening line of each chapter is enlarged and spans 3 lines.
9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available
10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)
The paper is white and smooth, wove paper with an even, granulated texture. There is a deckle edge on the top edge. The top and bottom edges are straight. After 28 years, the paper is yellowed with age, but still in good condition.
11 Description of binding(s)
Dark Yellow paper covered boards. Blue linen-texture cloth spine (quarter-bound). Spine: ?The | World | According | to Garp | [double rule with diamond pattern] | Irving | DUTTON? All in gilt. Reddish-Brown endpapers.
12 Transcription of title page
Recto: THE | WORLD | ACCORDING | TO | GARP | [ornamental line of five diamonds] | A NOVEL BY | JOHN IRVING | HR | A Henry Robbins Book | E.P. DUTTON New York Verso: The author wishes to express his gratitude to the Guggenheim Founda- | tion. | Grateful acknowledgement is made for permission to reprint ?The Plot | against the Giant.? Copyright 1923, 1951 by Wallace Stevens. Reprinted | from The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens, by permission of Alfred | A. Knopf, Inc. | Portions of this book have appeared in different form in the following | magazines: Antaeus, Esquire, Gallery, Penthouse, Playboy, Ploughshares, | and Swank. | Copyright [copyright symbol] 1976, 1977, 1978 by John Irving | All rights reserved. Printed in the U.S.A. | No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form | or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording | or any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be in- | vented without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a re- | viewer who wishes to quote brief passages in connection with a review | written for inclusion in a magazine, newspaper or broadcast. | Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data | Irving, John, 1942- | The world according to Garp. | ?A Henry Robbins book.? | I. Title. | PZ4.I714Wo 1978 [PS3559.R68] 813?.5?4 77-15564 | ISBN: 0-525-23770-4 | Published simultaneously in Canada by Clarke, Irwin & Company Limited, | Toronto and Vancouver | 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 | FIRST EDITION | Designed by Herb Johnson | Produced by Stuart Horowitz
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
According to Camilla Wells? entry on Cider House Rules, ?All of John Irving?s manuscripts are held at the library of the Phillips Exeter Academy.? A search of the online catalogue for the 1945 Library at Phillips Exeter Academy (http://library.exeter.edu/) gives an entry for The World According to Garp with the description: ?531 leaves (in case): facsim. of typescript, with final corrections; 28 cm.?
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
Copy consulted: from Lewis and Clark Community College, shelf mark: 813.54 I72w
Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History
1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A
N/A
2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available
3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available
4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?
The were five printings of the first edition. Publishers Weekly of October 30, 1978 states that The World According to Garp is "Back to press for a 20,000-copy fifth printing and 120,000 copies in print" (58).
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
Editions from other publishers with pagination noted: Irving, John. The World According to Garp. Australia: [S.I.] Hutchinson of Australia, 1978. (437p) Irving, John. The World According to Garp. London: Black Swan Press, 1986. (591p) Irving, John. The World According to Garp. London: Corgi, 1979. (570p) Irving, John. The World According to Garp. London: Gollancz, 1978. (437p) Irving, John. The World According to Garp. New York: Ballantine Books, 1990. (609p) Irving, John. The World According to Garp. New York: Ballantine Books, 1997. (437p) Irving, John. The World According to Garp. New York: Modern Library, 1998. (688p) Irving, John. The World According to Garp. New York: Pocket Books, 1979. (609p) Irving, John. The World According to Garp. New York: Pocket Books, 1982. (624p) Irving, John. The World According to Garp. Taipei, Taiwan: Imperial Book, Sound & Gift Co., 1978. (437p) Irving, John. The World According to Garp. Toronto: Vintage Canada, 2000. (437p) Irving, John. The World According to Garp. Toronto and Vancouver: Clarke, Irwin & Company Limited, 1978.
6 Last date in print?
The World According to Garp is in print as of 2006, according to Bowker's Books In Print.
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
Over 2,300,000 copies had been sold as of July 15, 1979 according to an advertisement in the Chicago Tribune.
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
On May 22, 1978 Publishers Weekly reports that there were 70,000 copies in print. On June 5, 1978 Publishers Weekly reports that there were 100,000 copies in print. On October 30, 1978 Publishers Weekly reports that there were 120,00 copies in print. Based on statistics from a February 19, 1979 article in Publishers Weekly that is reprinted in the 1979 Bowker Annual, The World According to Garp sold 105,000 copies in 1978. A May 4, 1979 advertisement in the Chicago Tribune reports that 1,800,000 copies of the paperback were in print. Combined with the 120,000 hardcover copies that were printed, there were 1,920,000 total copies in print as of May 4, 1979. A July 15, 1979 advertisement for the paperback edition of the novel in the Chicago Tribune reports that over 2,300,000 copies of the novel have been sold.
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
A May 7, 1978 full-page advertisement from Kroch's and Brentano's Bookstore in the Chicago Tribune, which also ran in the May 7, 1978 issue of the Los Angeles Times for B. Dalton Books reads: "The book of the year ? the most powerful and profound novel about women written by a man in our generation." ? Stephen Becker, Chicago Sun-Times [photograph of dust jacket] THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP has just been published after an extraordinary groundswell of advance acclaim. Among the early readers were Mario Puzo ("a marvelously funny, sad book, a joy to read") ? Gay Talese ("a remarkable novel by an extraordinary writer") ? Kay Boyle ("brilliant ? sheer magic") ? Hilma Wolitzer ("Irving is the most inventive writer I know and his inventions become flesh")? and Stanley Elkin ("John Irving used to be a promising writer. With his wonderful new novel he has kept all his promises and doesn't owe anybody a damn thing"). Now, equalling or even surpassing the enthusiasm of these early readers, first reviewers are calling THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP: "An imaginative feast. I relished every page, every line." ? Doris Grumbach, Saturday Review "It is not easy to find words in which to convey the joy, the excitement, the passion this superb novel evokes. The imagination soars as Irving draws us on inexorably into Garp's world, which is at once larger than life and as real as our own most private dreams of life and death, love, lust and fear." ? Barbara A. Bannon, Publishers Weekly "It works powerful magic ? Remarkably imaginative, boldly constructed, the characters are brilliantly conceived." ? Robert Harris, Bookviews "Rich and humorous ? Irving's talent for storytelling is so bright and strong that he gets down to the truth of his time in the end." ? Julian Moynahan, front page, New York Times Book Review "An extraordinary work ? A long family novel, spanning four generations and two continents, crammed with incidents, characters, feelings and craft. The components of black comedy and melodrama, pathos and tragedy, mesh effortlessly in a tale that can also be read as a commentary on art and the imagination ? At 36, John Irving moves into the front rank of America's young novelists." ? R.Z. Sheppard, Time Magazine 70,000 copies in print. $10.95 A Henry Robbins Book DUTTON" A June 25, 1978 advertisement for the novel in the New York Times reads: "NATIONWIDE BESTSELLER Garp Fever! "A wonderful novel, full of energy and art, at once funny and terrifying and heartbreaking ? You know THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP is true. It is also terrific." ? William McPherson, front page, Washington Post Book World "An extraordinary work ? A long family novel, spanning four generations and two continents, crammed with incidents, characters, feelings and craft ? At 36, John Irving moves into the front rank of America's young novelists." ? R.Z. Sheppard, Time Magazine "Nothing in contemporary fiction matches it ? Irving's blend of gravity and play is unique, audacious, almost blasphemous. The story itself is strong in compassion and humanity ? tenderness and wisdom ? THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP is brilliant, funny and consistently wise; a work of vast talent." ? Terrence Des Pres, New Republic "Absolutely extraordinary ? The best novel I have read in years ? A rollercoaster ride that leaves one breathless, exhausted, elated and tearful." ? Jonathan Yardley, front page, Los Angeles Times Book Review "A great novel ? One of the most original (and readable) novels of the past few years ? The story itself is a brilliant panoply of current attitudes towards sex, marriage and parenthood, the feminist movement, and ? above all ? the concept of delineated sexual roles ? Irving's characters will stay alive for years to come." ? Charles R. Larson, front page, Chicago Tribune Book World "Like all great works of art, Irving's novel seems always to have been there, a diamond sleeping in the dark, chipped out at last for our enrichment and delight ? As approachable as it is brilliant, GARP pulses with vital energy." ? Jane Clapperton, Cosmopolitan "Rich and humorous ? Irving's talent for storytelling is so bright and strong that he gets down to the truth of his time in the end." ? Julian Moynahan, front page, N.Y. Times Book Review "The most talked-about novel in recent years ? It is not easy to find words in which to convey the joy, the excitement, the passion this superb novel evokes." ? Barbara A. Bannon, Publishers Weekly "The book of the year ? The most powerful and profound novel about women written by a man in our generation ? Like all extraordinary books, GARP defies synopsis. It is about T.S. Garp, writer, wrestler, lover, and his life and times, but if Garp is the book's center, and voice, his mother and his wife (and maybe even womankind) are its heroines ? GARP is a marvelous, important, permanent novel by a serious artist of remarkable powers, surely the most imposing writer under forty now working." ? Stephen Backer, front page, Chicago Sun-Times Book Week [author photograph] The World According to Garp a novel by JOHN IRVING A DUAL SELECTION OF THE BOOK-OF-THE-MONTH CLUB; 100,000 copies in print; $10.95 at bookstores." An April 8, 1979 advertisement for the paperback edition of the novel in the Chicago Tribune reads: "Do you believe in Garp? [photograph of paperback cover and author photograph] Every generation has one book that forever captures the feeling and fever of its times. We believe that book is here: The World According to Garp. The Critics Believe in Garp. Time Magazine rated Garp one of the five best fiction works of 1978, and said: "Awesome talent for meshing melodrama and tragedy, pathos and comedy." Readers Believe in Garp. A national bestseller for seven months, this is the novel people have talked about. When you read Garp you'll talk about it, too. And you'll believe in Garp. Garp is now in paperback, and on sale everywhere POCKET [Pocket Books logo] BOOKS" A May 4, 1979 advertisement for the paperback edition of the novel in the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times reads: "[author photograph] #1 PAPERBACK BESTSELLER IN AMERICA John Irving's The World According to Garp. Every generation has a book, a book that captures the fever and feeling of its times. John Irving's The World According to Garp is that book ? and the one all America is reading ? and believing in. Now 1,800,000 paperback copies in print. On Sale Everywhere. POCKET [Pocket Books logo] BOOKS [photograph of paperback cover]" A July 15, 1979 advertisement for the paperback edition of the novel in the Chicago Tribune , which also appeared in the July 13, 1979 issue of the New York Times reads: "Garp. The fever rages on. [photograph of paperback cover] Now over 2,300,000 sold. Immediately upon publication, The World According to Garp shot to the top of the paperback bestseller lists. It remains there because Garp is the book everyone's talking about ? and feverishly recommending. When a novel meets with wide critical acclaim and becomes a runaway national bestseller, it means one thing: people believe in it. Read John Irving's The World According to Garp and be shocked, delighted, outraged and entertained. Read it, and you too will believe in Garp. POCKET [Pocket Books logo] BOOKS On sale everywhere."
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
11 Other promotion
According to an article in the Dictionary of Literary Biography 278 on John Irving, The World According to Garp "was the subject of a highly aggressive and effective advertising campaign that featured the slogan, "I Believe in Garp"" (180). In a letter to the Los Angeles Times on April 29, 1979, one Bob Delbert writes; "From one "Garpomaniac" to another ? welcome aboard. We have been celebrating "Garp" with "Garp Days" at Southern California bookstores. If you are interested, I have some extra T-shirts and bumper stickers that say, "I Believe in Garp.""
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
The Washington Post, June 15, 1979, lists a radio dramatization. It reads: "You've seen the book jacket plastered around town, but now you can use your ears to enjoy "The World According to Garp," by John Irving. The author was commissioned to write a radio adaption of one chapter of the book, and it takes the form of a play called "The Dog in the Alley, the Child in the Sky." Friday night at 11, on WAMU 88.5 FM." The World According to Garp was turned into a film with the same title in 1982, directed by George Roy Hill, written by John Irving and Steve Tesich, and starring Robin Williams. There are several audio recordings of The World According to Garp: Irving, John, narr. John Irving reads from The World According to Garp. By John Irving. Audiocassette. Newman Communications Corp., 1985. Irving, John, narr. John Irving reads The Pension Grillparzer. By John Irving. Audiocassette. Audio Partners, 1988. Miller, Marvin, narr. The World According to Garp. By John Irving. Audiocassette. Cassette Books Company, 1983. Pritchard, Michael, narr. The World According to Garp. By John Irving. Audiocassette. Books on Tape, 1987. Pritchard, Michael, narr. The World According to Garp. By John Irving. Audiocassette. Random House, 1998. Pritchard, Michael, narr. The World According to Garp. By John Irving. Compact Disc. Books on Tape, 2001.
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
Chinese Translation: Zhang, Dingqi, trans. Gaipu yan zhong de shi jie. By John Irving. Taibei Shi: Yuan shen chu ban she you xian gong si, 2003. Danish Translation: Gress-Wright, David, trans. Verden ifolge Garp. By John Irving. Kobenhavn: Gyldendals Bogklub, 1978. Dutch Translation: van den Broek, C.A.G., trans. De wereld volgens Garp. By John Irving. Bussum: Agathon, 1979. Finnish Translation: Rikman, Kristiina, trans. Garpin maailma. By John Irving. Helsinki: Tammi, 1983. French Translation: Anonymous, trans. Le monde selon Garp. By John Irving. Paris: Editions du seuil, 1980. Rambaud, Maurice, trans. Le monde selon Garp. By John Irving. Paris: France Loisirs, 1980. Rambaud, Maurice, trans. Le monde selon Garp. By John Irving. Paris: Seuils, 1980. German Translation: Abel, Jurgen, trans. Garp und wie er die Welt sah. By John Irving. Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1982. Abel, Jurgen, trans. Garp und wie er die Welt sah. By John Irving. Zurich: Buchclub Ex Libris, 1981. Hungarian Translation: Tibor, Mark, trans. Garp szerint a vilag. By John Irving. Budapest: Arkadia Budapest, 1988. Japanese Translation: Masaaki, Tsutsui, trans. Gapu no sekai. By John Irving. Tokyo: Shinchosha, 1983. Korean Translation: An, Chong-hyo, trans. Gaap 'u ka pon sesang. By John Irving. Soul-si: Munhak Tongne, 2002. Chon, Ho-jong. Kap'u. By John Irving. Soul: Koryowon, 1983. Polish Translation: Uhrynowska-Hanasz, Zofia, trans. Swiat wedlug Garpa. By John Irving. Warszawa: Czytelnik, 1994. Uhrynowska-Hanasz, Zofia, trans. Swiat wedlug Garpa. By John Irving. Warszawa: Proszynski i S-ka, 1999. Portuguese Translation: Corcao, Luiz, trans. O mundo segundo Garp. By John Irving. Rio de Janeiro: Editora Record, 2000. Russian Translation: Litvinovoi, M., trans. Mir ot Garpa. By John Irving. Moskva: Novosti, 1992. Togoeva, Irina, trans. Mir glazami Garpa. By John Irving. Moskva: Inostranka, 2003. Spanish Translation: Menendez, Iris, trans. El mundo segun Garp. By John Irving. Barcelona: Argos Vergara, 1979. Menendez, Iris, trans. El mundo segun Garp. By John Irving. Barcelona: Grijalbo Mondadori, 2000. Menendez, Iris, trans. El mundo segun Garp. By John Irving. Barcelona: Tusquets Editores, 1994. Swedish Translation: Lundgren, Caj, trans. Garp och hans varld. By John Irving. Stockholm: Wahlstrom and Widstrand, 1982.
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
Portions of The World According to Garp appeared in different form in the following magazines previous to its publication according to information given on the verso of the title page: Antaeus, Esquire, Gallery, Penthouse, Playboy, Ploughshares, and Swank.
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
N/A
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
The success of The World According to Garp was a watershed moment in the life of John Irving. Before The World According to Garp, Irving's most popular novel was The Water Method Man (1972), which sold around 7,000 copies (Harter 5). The 158-Pound Marriage, published in 1974, sold only 2,560 copies (Reilly 2). Four years later, his next novel, The World According to Garp, sold over 100,000 copies in hardcover and three million paperbacks (Harter 5). Irving's follow-up, The Hotel New Hampshire, had a first printing of 150,000 hardcover copies (Miller 8). Not only did The World According to Garp mark a financial change for Irving, it also marked a change in his cultural milieu. Before this novel, his life was strongly tied to academia. He had received an MFA from the University of Iowa in 1967, having studied primarily under Vance Bourjaily and Kurt Vonnegut (Miller 5-6). This set him on a career path of teaching and applying for grants (Davis 174-75). However, The World According to Garp's success changed all of this and he was now a literary and pop culture celebrity (Harter 1-19). When The Hotel New Hampshire was published in 1981, Irving made the cover of Time magazine (Harter 1). After Irving became a celebrity, the academy no longer took his work as seriously as they once did (Harter 1-19). Ironically, The World According to Garp marked the beginning of mature writing by Irving and his adoption of the form of the Dickensian novel (Davis 177). Although the critics agree that The World According to Garp is not an autobiographical novel, many of the details of the early life of John Irving serve as character details for T.S. Garp in the novel. Irving's biological father was an airman in WWII, who he never knew, similar to Garp, who is conceived when mother has sex with a WWII airman in a vegetative state (Davis 174). Irving's stepfather was also an instructor at Phillips Exeter Academy and that is where Irving attended school (Davis 174). In The World According to Garp, Garp's mother is a nurse at Steering Academy, where later Garp attends school. Irving was greatly influenced by his wrestling coach at Exeter, Ted Seabrooke (Davis 174). Likewise, in the novel, Garp was influenced by his wrestling coach at Steering, Ernie Holm. Irving lived in Vienna in his college days, much like Garp does in the novel. Also, Irving had two young sons at the time he was writing the novel, similar to the two sons of T.S. Garp. The movie version of The World According to Garp was released in 1982. It written by Steve Tesich and directed by George Roy Hill. It starred Robin Williams as T.S. Garp, Glenn Close as Jenny Field, and John Lithgow as Roberta Muldoon (IMDb). This movie began the long tradition of Irving's works being adapted into motion pictures, which actually began abortively in the 1970s with a failed attempt to film Setting Free the Bears (Campbell 3). Although Irving had no direct hand in the movie version of The World According to Garp, he would later have a larger role in film adaptations of his work. He wrote the screenplay for the movie adaptation of The Cider House Rules, for which he won an Academy Award. Irving's first three novels were published by Random House, but there was a disagreement and Irving switched to Dutton for two novels, beginning with The World According to Garp and ending with his next novel The Hotel New Hampshire (Harter 5). Henry Robbins, who had his own imprint at Dutton, was the editor of The World According to Garp. However, soon after its publication, Robbins passed away (New York Times). Irving then switched publishers again, this time to William Morrow, for the publication of The Cider House Rules in 1985. John Irving's papers reside at the 1945 Library at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire (Davis 188). These papers include a facsimile of the typescript of The World According to Garp (http://library.exeter.edu/). As of 1998, Irving was living in Putney, Vermont and Toronto, Canada with his wife and literary agent, Janet Turnbull (Campbell 4). Works Cited: Anonymous, "Henry Robbins, Editor in Chief of Trade Books at Dutton, Dies." New York Times: 1 August 1979, p. A14. Campbell, Josie P. John Irving: A Critical Companion. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1998. Davis, Todd F. and Kenneth Womack. "John Irving." in Dictionary of Literary Biography 278. Harter, Carol C. and James R. Thompson. John Irving. Boston: Twayne, 1986. "The Internet Movie Database" Miller, Gabriel. John Irving. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1982. Reilly, Edward C. Understanding John Irving. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina, 1991.
Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
The reviews for The World According to Garp were mixed and many of the positive reviews were also internally conflicted. Most reviews cite the black comedy aspect of the novel, some think it is positive and others think it is negative. The portrayal of violence and sexuality in the novel made many reviewers uncomfortable. The book was reviewed in a wide variety of magazines and journals, from fashion magazines such as Vogue to the popular magazines Time and Newsweek to literary journals such as Prairie Schooner and the Southern Review. The reviews in the popular women's magazines are especially relevant for this novel and its portrayal of feminism, rape, and violence against women. The popular women's magazines that reviewed the novel included Vogue, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan. Glamour wrote that "it is the closest thing to a Great American Novel in a long time" (Glamour 198) and Cosmopolitan raved: "The World According to Garp is as approachable as it is brilliant. ? Like all great works of art, Irving's novel seems always to have been there, a diamond sleeping in the dark, chipped out at last for our enrichment and delight" (Clapperton 26). In a two page review in Vogue, John Leonard wrote that "John Irving ? has arrived with a bang. After three previous novels ? he knows exactly what he's doing and goes about doing it ferociously. ? All of this is sinister and hilarious and more: it is brave ? However, Mr. Irving not only has a splendid story to tell, but he seems to have assembled all the ways such a story has been and could be told, in one book. Garp is a text that breathes and hoots" (Leonard 100-110). Even the feminist magazine, Ms., wrote a favorable review: "John Irving has written a fine, moving, and hilarious novel dealing with feminist issues from rape to sexual identity to Movement stardom ? and he's managed to do it minus any Hey-I'm-a-man-but-I-really-understand self-consciousness or fanfare" (Ms. 30). The news magazines Time and Newsweek were divided in their reviews of the novel. Time gave it a full page review, with reviewer R.Z. Sheppard writing, "The components of black comedy and melodrama, pathos and tragedy, mesh effortlessly in a tale that can also be read as a commentary on art and the imagination. ? The World According to Garp is an extraordinary work ? At 36, [John Irving] moves into the front rank of America's young novelists" (Sheppard 90-91). On the other hand, Walter Clemons of Newsweek wrote, "Irving's attraction-revulsion toward violence makes his book hard to stomach. ? I have to say that these pages made me sick. This was Irving's intention, I guess. But his achievement in this line of work casts a glare of exploitation over his book" (Clemons 115). Other reviewers displayed a similar uneasiness about the violence in the book. Rolling Stone printed a two-part essay on the novel after reviewing it. The essay's purpose was to explain why the audience was so invested in the characters and why the violence in the novel was not gratuitous (Marcus). The anonymous reviewer in Forbes confesses "Sometimes I almost enjoyed this book, but am confounded that it's a bestseller" and then implied that the novel had made him feel like he had a sick mind(Forbes 198). Furthermore, Terrence Des Pres of the New Republic writes, "In effect, the author of Garp is Garp, and just here, in the relation of the writer to his fictions, The World According to Garp grows disturbing. ? The World According to Garp is brilliant, funny and consistently wise; it is a work of vast talent, but also exceedingly disquieting" (Des Pres 31-33). In the United Kingdom, The Spectator's review of the novel was similar in regards to its uneasiness about the novel's themes and elected to give it a negative review. However, the British magazines Punch and New Statesman both gave Garp positive reviews. The Canadian magazine, MacLean's, exuberantly praised the book and favorably compared Irving to Vonnegut and Heller (Amiel 66). Of the more "serious" literary journals, Prairie Schooner praised the novel, while the Southern Review savaged it, citing the article "Literary Hype," written by Bryan Griffin in the Atlantic Monthly, which attacks the literary reviewing industry and along with it, The World According to Garp (Mason 303, Halio 230, Griffin 45-56). In more formal areas of literary criticism, at least eight literary essays appeared in the first five years of Garp's reception. Three doctoral theses appeared on the novel within the first five years of publication. John Irving, a monograph on the author's biography with an explication and criticism of his first five novels, including Garp, was written by Gabriel Miller in 1982. Sources Amiel, Barbara. "To Vonnegut and Heller, add John Irving." Rev. of The World According to Garp, by John Irving. MacLean's 29 May 1978: 66. Clapperton, Jane. "Cosmo Reads the New Books" Rev. of The World According to Garp, by John Irving. Cosmopolitan June 1978: 26. Clemons, Walter. "H-H-Horror Story." Rev. of The World According to Garp, by John Irving. Newsweek 17 April 1978: 115. Des Pres,Terrence. Rev. of The World According to Garp, by John Irving. New Republic 29 April 1978: 31-33. Griffin, Bryan. "Literary Hype." Atlantic Monthly June 1979: 45-56. Halio, Jay L. "Fiction About Fiction." Southern Review Winter 1981: 225-234. Jamal, Zahir. "The Vale of Laughter" Rev. of The World According to Garp, by John Irving. New Statesman 20 October 1978: 519. King, Francis. " 'Arping On." Rev. of The World According to Garp, by John Irving. Spectator 21 October 1978: 27-28. Leonard, John "A fresh look at two astonishing novels." Rev. of The World According to Garp, by John Irving and Final Payments by Mary Gordon. Vogue Feb 1979: 100, 110. Marcus, Greil. "Worlds apart: from Garp to Gore." Rev. of The World According to Garp, by John Irving. Rolling Stone 27 July 1978. Marcus, Greil. "Garp: death in the family, I." Rev. of The World According to Garp, by John Irving. Rolling Stone 24 August 1978. Marcus, Greil. "Garp: death in the family, II." Rev. of The World According to Garp, by John Irving. Rolling Stone 21 September 1978. Mason, Clif. Rev. of The World According to Garp, by John Irving. Prairie Schooner Fall 1978: 303. Miller, Gabriel. John Irving. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1982. Rev. of The World According to Garp, by John Irving. Forbes May 1979: 198. Rev. of The World According to Garp, by John Irving. Glamour 30 October 1978: 42. Rev. of The World According to Garp, by John Irving. Ms. July 1979: 30. Sheppard, R.Z. "Love, Art and the Last Puritan" Rev. of The World According to Garp, by John Irving. Time 24 April 1978: 90-91. Williams, David. Rev. of The World According to Garp, by John Irving. Punch 12 December 1979: 1154.
2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
The reviews for The World According to Garp were mixed and many of the positive reviews were also internally conflicted. Most reviews cite the black comedy aspect of the novel, some think it is positive and others think it is negative. The portrayal of violence and sexuality in the novel made many reviewers uncomfortable. The book was reviewed in a wide variety of magazines and journals, from fashion magazines such as Vogue to the popular magazines Time and Newsweek to literary journals such as Prairie Schooner and the Southern Review. The reviews in the popular women's magazines are especially relevant for this novel and its portrayal of feminism, rape, and violence against women. The popular women's magazines that reviewed the novel included Vogue, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan. Glamour wrote that "it is the closest thing to a Great American Novel in a long time" (Glamour 198) and Cosmopolitan raved: "The World According to Garp is as approachable as it is brilliant. ? Like all great works of art, Irving's novel seems always to have been there, a diamond sleeping in the dark, chipped out at last for our enrichment and delight" (Clapperton 26). In a two page review in Vogue, John Leonard wrote that "John Irving ? has arrived with a bang. After three previous novels ? he knows exactly what he's doing and goes about doing it ferociously. ? All of this is sinister and hilarious and more: it is brave ? However, Mr. Irving not only has a splendid story to tell, but he seems to have assembled all the ways such a story has been and could be told, in one book. Garp is a text that breathes and hoots" (Leonard 100-110). Even the feminist magazine, Ms., wrote a favorable review: "John Irving has written a fine, moving, and hilarious novel dealing with feminist issues from rape to sexual identity to Movement stardom ? and he's managed to do it minus any Hey-I'm-a-man-but-I-really-understand self-consciousness or fanfare" (Ms. 30). The news magazines Time and Newsweek were divided in their reviews of the novel. Time gave it a full page review, with reviewer R.Z. Sheppard writing, "The components of black comedy and melodrama, pathos and tragedy, mesh effortlessly in a tale that can also be read as a commentary on art and the imagination. ? The World According to Garp is an extraordinary work ? At 36, [John Irving] moves into the front rank of America's young novelists" (Sheppard 90-91). On the other hand, Walter Clemons of Newsweek wrote, "Irving's attraction-revulsion toward violence makes his book hard to stomach. ? I have to say that these pages made me sick. This was Irving's intention, I guess. But his achievement in this line of work casts a glare of exploitation over his book" (Clemons 115). Other reviewers displayed a similar uneasiness about the violence in the book. Rolling Stone printed a two-part essay on the novel after reviewing it. The essay's purpose was to explain why the audience was so invested in the characters and why the violence in the novel was not gratuitous (Marcus). The anonymous reviewer in Forbes confesses "Sometimes I almost enjoyed this book, but am confounded that it's a bestseller" and then implied that the novel had made him feel like he had a sick mind(Forbes 198). Furthermore, Terrence Des Pres of the New Republic writes, "In effect, the author of Garp is Garp, and just here, in the relation of the writer to his fictions, The World According to Garp grows disturbing. ? The World According to Garp is brilliant, funny and consistently wise; it is a work of vast talent, but also exceedingly disquieting" (Des Pres 31-33). In the United Kingdom, The Spectator's review of the novel was similar in regards to its uneasiness about the novel's themes and elected to give it a negative review. However, the British magazines Punch and New Statesman both gave Garp positive reviews. The Canadian magazine, MacLean's, exuberantly praised the book and favorably compared Irving to Vonnegut and Heller (Amiel 66). Of the more "serious" literary journals, Prairie Schooner praised the novel, while the Southern Review savaged it, citing the article "Literary Hype," written by Bryan Griffin in the Atlantic Monthly, which attacks the literary reviewing industry and along with it, The World According to Garp (Mason 303, Halio 230, Griffin 45-56). In more formal areas of literary criticism, at least eight literary essays appeared in the first five years of Garp's reception. Three doctoral theses appeared on the novel within the first five years of publication. John Irving, a monograph on the author's biography with an explication and criticism of his first five novels, including Garp, was written by Gabriel Miller in 1982. Sources Amiel, Barbara. "To Vonnegut and Heller, add John Irving." Rev. of The World According to Garp, by John Irving. MacLean's 29 May 1978: 66. Clapperton, Jane. "Cosmo Reads the New Books" Rev. of The World According to Garp, by John Irving. Cosmopolitan June 1978: 26. Clemons, Walter. "H-H-Horror Story." Rev. of The World According to Garp, by John Irving. Newsweek 17 April 1978: 115. Des Pres,Terrence. Rev. of The World According to Garp, by John Irving. New Republic 29 April 1978: 31-33. Griffin, Bryan. "Literary Hype." Atlantic Monthly June 1979: 45-56. Halio, Jay L. "Fiction About Fiction." Southern Review Winter 1981: 225-234. Jamal, Zahir. "The Vale of Laughter" Rev. of The World According to Garp, by John Irving. New Statesman 20 October 1978: 519. King, Francis. " 'Arping On." Rev. of The World According to Garp, by John Irving. Spectator 21 October 1978: 27-28. Leonard, John "A fresh look at two astonishing novels." Rev. of The World According to Garp, by John Irving and Final Payments by Mary Gordon. Vogue Feb 1979: 100, 110. Marcus, Greil. "Worlds apart: from Garp to Gore." Rev. of The World According to Garp, by John Irving. Rolling Stone 27 July 1978. Marcus, Greil. "Garp: death in the family, I." Rev. of The World According to Garp, by John Irving. Rolling Stone 24 August 1978. Marcus, Greil. "Garp: death in the family, II." Rev. of The World According to Garp, by John Irving. Rolling Stone 21 September 1978. Mason, Clif. Rev. of The World According to Garp, by John Irving. Prairie Schooner Fall 1978: 303. Miller, Gabriel. John Irving. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1982. Rev. of The World According to Garp, by John Irving. Forbes May 1979: 198. Rev. of The World According to Garp, by John Irving. Glamour 30 October 1978: 42. Rev. of The World According to Garp, by John Irving. Ms. July 1979: 30. Sheppard, R.Z. "Love, Art and the Last Puritan" Rev. of The World According to Garp, by John Irving. Time 24 April 1978: 90-91. Williams, David. Rev. of The World According to Garp, by John Irving. Punch 12 December 1979: 1154.
Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
Based on the low sales of John Irving's first three novels, no one would have expected his fourth novel to be a bestseller, selling over 100,000 copies in hardcover and 3 million copies in paperback (Davis and Womack 174). However, several factors played into The World According to Garp's success. Firstly, large sums of money were spent on advertising the book in a unique way. The author's persona is also a factor. Also, the book was written in a mode that was very popular at the time, both in academia and also in the reading public, metafiction or the "New Fiction." This was a style he shared with his mentor, Kurt Vonnegut. Irving's 1979 essay on Vonnegut also illuminates some factors in his own success with The World According to Garp. Another reason for the book's popularity is its subject matter and the resolution of the dilemmas presented in such content in an essentially conservative manner. In 1978, The World According to Garp by John Irving was published by E.P. Dutton. It followed three well-reviewed but not economically successful novels, published by Random House. These were Setting Free the Bears (1968), The Water-Method Man (1972), and The 158-Pound Marriage (1976) (Harter 5, Reilly 2). Nothing pointed to the success of The World According to Garp. Perhaps it all had to do with advertising: Irving alleged that Random House wasn't properly advertising his books and then went to E.P. Dutton, where the famous editor Henry Robbins, who had his own imprint within the company, recognized his genius and paid him well (Reilly 77). It became number 14 on the bestseller list as a hardcover and when it was released in 1979 as a paperback by Pocket Books, it was heavily advertised and had enormous sales (Reilly 77). Even bus-side signage was employed by the campaign, a campaign that also included t-shirts and sweat-bands (Reilly 77). The phrase, "I Believe in Garp," figured prominently in the paperback advertising. $200,000 was used for the paperback advertising campaign (Reilly 77). In 1979, the novel was given the American Book Award (Davis and Womack 174). By the time the movie was released in 1982, the bestseller was already four years old, suggesting that the novel was steadily consumed during that considerably long time period. In the Publishers Weekly charts, the hardcover release debuted at number fourteen, peaked at number four, and remained on the list for 32 weeks. In the New York Times charts, the hardcover release debuted at number nine, peaked at number four for a week, and was on the charts for a total of sixteen weeks. For the paperback, it debuted at number four in Publishers Weekly, peaked at number one for thirteen weeks, for a total of 41 weeks. The paperback debuted at number five in the New York Times, peaked at number one for four weeks, for a total of forty weeks (Justice 160). Another reason for the book's bestseller status may have also been the John Irving's persona. After the success of The World According to Garp, he became very popular, appearing on the cover of Time magazine when The Hotel New Hampshire was published (Harter and Thompson 1). Through his author photographs and the subject matter of his earlier novels, Irving got the reputation of being a handsome, athletic man. This can be seen in the author's picture, where he is standing with his arms crossed, looking quite athletic. Irving's image is also seen in the fact that T.S. Garp, the novel's main character, is a wrestler who also jogs and works out frequently. Many of the bestsellers for 1978 don't seem to have much in common with Garp, but one may shed some light on the book's success. That book is The Complete Book of Running by James Fixx, number 3 on the non-fiction chart for 1978. People were really into jogging and being fit during this time period. Over the years, Irving has also come to be known as a family man and is often pictured with one or more of his sons, usually wrestling with them. All of these aspects of Irving's persona are present in his character T.S. Garp as well and the novel helped to create a public persona for Irving. Many reviewers noticed the advertising campaign for the novel and called its seriousness into question. John Irving has often stated that he is an author who seeks to be entertaining and serious at the same time. He feels like he should write in a way that his audience will be able to understand him. This is a quality he attributes to the work of his mentor, Kurt Vonnegut (Irving 41-42). Irving has said that "Art has an aesthetic responsibility to be entertaining. The writer's responsibility is to take hard stuff and make it as accessible as the stuff can be made. Art and entertainment aren't contradictions" (Harter and Thompson 102). Some people point to Irving's 1979 essay on "Kurt Vonnegut and his Critics," which appeared in The New Republic as a definitive statement about Irving's artistic viewpoint, especially during the period in which he wrote The World According to Garp (Davis and Womack 174)). In the essay, Irving talks about catharsis as a neglected idea, but as idea he tries to use in his fiction. He writes, "people do want entertainment, certainly; but I think they also want things that are fundamentally upsetting, which - easy or hard to read - good literature usually is. Catharsis - perhaps it is also an unpopular word today, or at least an old-fashioned one - relies on upsetting readers. You purge fear through evoking it, you purify pain by rendering it, you bathe the heart with tears" (Irving 44). The World According to Garp provides a sort of catharsis, after all the violence and tragedy, one feels like some positive thing has been achieved by the end of the novel. John Irving has an interesting relationship to the academy. He got a MFA from the Iowa Writer's Workshop, where he studied under Kurt Vonnegut and Vance Bourjaily. This meant that he could be a writer-in-residence or writing professor. He did in fact hold these jobs at various colleges in the Northeast until the success of The World According to Garp made this source of income no longer necessary (Davis and Womack 174-75). The success of The World According to Garp also severed Irving from the academy in another way; the popularity of the novel caused his work to subsequently be viewed with suspicion in the academy. In other words, in the time period surrounding the publication of The World According to Garp, Irving held a position that was both within and without of the academy. Irving writes in a style that Dickens was known for, as well as Thackeray and a host of other nineteenth-century authors (Harter and Thompson 84). Some other authors that are mentioned in conjunction with The World According to Garp are Laurence Sterne, Frank Norris, Rabelais, Franz Grillparzer, Henry Fielding, and Theodore Dreiser (Harter and Thompson 82, 83, 84). The novel itself contains allusions to Sterne's Tristram Shandy (a possible source for Garp's initials, T.S.?), Jarrell's "Death of the Ball Turret Gunner," and Marcus Aurelius's Meditations (Miller 92, 95-96). This level of intertextuality is rarely seen in bestsellers produced solely for entertainment. Larry McCaffery wrote that "Like Dickens and Gunter Grass ? Irving is a natural-born story teller who transcends the categories of ?academic' and ?popular' fiction writer" (Reilly 78). One very Dickensian and literary thing Irving does is write an epilogue for the novel. Harter and Thompson call this epilogue "a brilliant tour de force of barely thirty pages, details the lives (and often maimings or deaths) of virtually every major figure in the Garpian/Dickensian menagerie" (83). The World According to Garp can be considered a work of humanism. One way in which this can be seen is in the life-like, three-dimensional portrayals of the characters in the novel. Many reviewers commented on this aspect of the novel, especially Greil Marcus in Rolling Stone. Kurt Vonnegut is also known for his humanism. In his essay on Vonnegut, Irving writes, "As a cause ? not to mention a literary theme ? "common decency" is worth praising"(Irving 46). This theme unites the two writers. One type of writing that The World According to Garp has been classified as is metafiction, which in the simplest terms, refers to writing about writing. Fiction that employed metafiction is sometimes called the "New Fiction." This literary movement was very popular in the academy during the 1960s and 1970s. Some figures of this movement were John Barth, Robert Coover, and William Gass. Irving does not like to be placed in this movement, but one cannot deny that he is writing about writing in The World According to Garp. Perhaps this is another reason for its bestseller status, it was read by serious readers interested in Barth and others writing in this vein. Also, readers may have heard of metafiction or the "New Fiction" and wanted to read an accessible novel in the movement. Larry McCaffery writes that "Garp may be, above all, a funny and poignant family saga, but it is also a sophisticated metafictional investigation into the writer's relationship to his work, the nature of art and the imagination" (Harter and Thompson 88). It is also said of Irving that he "views the Barthian penchant for metafictional discourse and analysis as sounding the death knell for the novel as a lively art form" and that he "differs markedly from ? Gass, Pynchon, or Barth" (Harter and Thompson 88, 89). Priestley puts it well when he writes, "Irving resembles both ?the Victorian novelist' ? and the ?new novelist' who writes fiction about fiction" (Harter and Thompson 89). In fact, Irving "rewrites" some of his previous novels in The World According to Garp, referring to them by other names (Miller 107). According to Miller, "Irving does not resort to such repetition of materials in order to build some mythical world like Faulkner's, but out of an apparent need to come to grips with them himself"(88). T.S. Garp's first novel, Procrastination refers to Setting Free the Bears, Second Wind of the Cuckold refers to The 158-Pound Marriage, The World According to Bensenhaver refers to The World According to Garp, and Garp's unfinished novel, My Father's Illusions refers to Irving's future novel, The Hotel New Hampshire (Campbell 80, Miller 107). In fact, the part of the book regarding The World According to Bensenhaver reveals much about the politics of the bestseller, especially one that contains a lot of sex and violence like The World According to Garp itself. It talks about some of the advertising techniques that can be used to promote a bestseller. It also is a meditation on the unpredictable nature of the bestseller, as is shown by the minor character Jillsy Sloper, a maid that the editor John Wolf gives books to read, and if she likes it, it is bound to become a bestseller. No real explanation is given by her as to why she actually likes it. Also, another way that a book is marketed is by releasing chapters ahead of publication in magazines. Ironically, the only place The World According to Bensenhaver can be published is in a pornographic magazine called Crotch Shots. The World According to Garp itself was published in several similar magazines: Penthouse, Playboy, and Swank. Feminism is a major theme in The World According to Garp. It is seen in the discussion of rape, of male lust, of gender roles (Garp doing the housework while Helen works), and of transgender issues (Roberta Muldoon's sex change). Garp's mother, Jenny Fields is a major feminist figure in the novel. Irving critiques some aspects of feminism that are two radical through creating a fictional group called the Ellen Jamesians, who cut their tongues out to protest rape. Feminism was a major issue of the 1960s and 1970s and certainly John Irving's intelligent critique of it in the novel was part of the novel's appeal. Many reviewers were troubled by the sex and violence, which sometimes occurs simultaneously in the novel. This may have been one reason that the book was a bestseller, because of its lurid parts, of which there are several. Further added to this theme of sex and violence is black humor or gallows humor as it is also known. This is also an aspect of Kurt Vonnegut's writing. Josie P. Campbell writes that, "The insistence on lust, particularly male lust, as an essential, natural drive is one of the more troubling aspects of this novel" (80). However, the novel is about going beyond all the sex and violence to achieve something positive, Harter and Thompson write, "Caught in a world where absurd violence abounds and traditional sexual roles and identities are no longer literally or psychologically viable, ? Garp struggles to create a wholesome, vital family life and simultaneously to create art" (78). According to Miller, "Irving's attitudes toward sex and marriage ? are quite conservative, despite the salacious content of much of his fiction; he has little patience, really, with sexual experimentation, loud causes, and trendy solutions"(Miller 120-21). This might be another reason for the popularity of the novel. Again, Miller writes of T.S. Garp's "gradual evolution in sensibility from the sex-limited awareness of a confused, aggressive maleness to the broader vision and constructive conservatism of mature fatherhood"(Miller 114). Irving really does write about the concerns that many parents have about protecting their children, which gives the book a very personal and emotional touch to such an audience. The World According to Garp continues to be read today in 2006, almost thirty years from its first publication. It continues to endure as both a funny and profound book. Gabriel Miller gives some very good ideas about why it continues to be so popular; "The World According to Garp is at once a personal masterpiece, an important contemporary artifact, a clear explication of Irving's moral and aesthetic vision, and a certification of his talent. It signals the arrival of a writer in full command of his abilities, entering upon the mature phase of his career" (89). Although it was widely viewed and talked about at its release, the movie version has fallen out of favor, even though it stars some famous actors and actresses such as Robin Williams, Glenn Close, and John Lithgow. The movie was written by Steve Tesich and directed by George Roy Hill. George Roy Hill directed the movie version of Kurt Vonnegut's novel, Slaughterhouse-Five ten years earlier in 1972 (imdb.com). Sources: Campbell, Josie P. John Irving: A Critical Companion. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1998. Davis, Todd F. and Kenneth Womack. "John Irving." in Dictionary of Literary Biography 278. Harter, Carol C. and James R. Thompson. John Irving. Boston: Twayne, 1986. "The Internet Movie Database" www.imdb.com Irving, John. "Kurt Vonnegut and His Critics." The New Republic. 22 September 1979: 41-49. Justice, Keith L. Bestseller Index. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1998. Marcus, Greil. "Worlds apart: from Garp to Gore." Rev. of The World According to Garp, by John Irving. Rolling Stone 27 July 1978. Miller, Gabriel. John Irving. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1982. Reilly, Edward C. Understanding John Irving. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina, 1991.
You are not logged in. (Sign in)