William Gaddis published his first novel, The Recognitions, that he'd begun in the late 1940s, in 1955. When the novel fell largely on deaf ears, Gaddis, who'd envisioned a similar blockbuster reception for it that would've allowed him to write full time as was awarded Ralph Ellison with the publication of his first novel, Invisible Man, instead worked as a speechwriter and documentary filmmaker for various companies, including Pfizer International, Eastman Kodak, and IBM, to support his family.
Agapē Agape and The Rush for 2nd Place: Essays & Occasional Writings, were published posthumously in 2002.
The Dalkey Archive Press has just reissued The Recognitions and JR. I've been informed by my favorite local independent bookstore, The Book Frog, that my Dalkey Archive Gaddises are presently en route to my eager hands. In celebration of The Dalkey Archive's reissues of two 20th century masterpieces that I hope will help spark a William Gaddis renaissance, I've begun a William Gaddis Legacy Library (a work-in-progress) in LibraryThing. Hope you'll drop by sometime and check it out.