While helping readers new to Pynchon orient themselves, the essays clear the way for further discussion, locating Mason & Dixon within the context of Pynchon's earlier work and of contemporary American fiction, charting Pynchon's attitudes toward imperialism, religion, the manipulation of history and its intersection with the imagination while surveying Pynchon's obsession with words and etymologies, science and eastern thought, his use of historical documents and Beat-countercultural sensibility, to delineate what is called the "poetics of Pynchon-space." A complete bibliography of Mason & Dixon material is also provided.
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