A Companion to The Crying of Lot 49

A Companion to The Crying of Lot 49

A Companion to The Crying of Lot 49

A Companion to The Crying of Lot 49

Excerpt

Ask most people who Thomas Pynchon is and chances are they will either have no idea or they will identify him as the author of The Crying of Lot 49. They may be able to name some or all of his other works, but most are unlikely to have read them, even in college literature courses.

For those readers who were exposed to Pynchon in college, the reasoning behind this state of affairs is not hard to deduce. Pynchon, so goes the thinking, is a hugely talented and innovative writer who has made such a name for himself that ignoring his work would be inappropriate; however, the stories in Slow Learner have been dismissed as apprentice work, V. and Gravity’s Rainbow are much too long and complex for the average reader, and Vineland is too recent to have attracted a reliable safety net of critical commentary for the nervous instructor to fall back on. Lot 49, on the other hand, has been taken very seriously by critics, it is appealingly brief, with something resembling a linear plot and a stable point of view, and there is a plethora of secondary material. At the same time, the novel offers a relatively painless introduction to some of the characteristics of literary postmodernism and affords a glimpse of Pynchon’s unique imagination, his enthusiasm for scientific metaphors, his concern for the fate of losers and schlemiels, his satirical vision of contemporary America, and so forth.

And so, each year, thousands of students are introduced to the novel and, I’m willing to bet, each year a substantial number of them come away from the experience, despite the best efforts of . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.