Thomas Pynchon

Thomas Pynchon (pĬn´chən), 1937–, American novelist, b. Glen Cove, N.Y., grad. Cornell, 1958. Pynchon is noted for his amazingly fertile imagination, his wild sense of humor, and the teeming complexity of his novels. He is sometimes grouped with authors of black humor (such as Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller), who turned from realism to fantasy to depict 20th-century (and, in Pynchon's case, 21st-century) American life. His early novels include V. (1963) and The Crying of Lot 49 (1966). His masterpiece is the complex and often obscure Gravity's Rainbow (1973, National Book Award), which displays his diverse erudition. Set in London during World War II, it is a discursive rumination on war and death. In 1984, he published a collection of early writings, Slow Learner. His later novels are Vineland (1990), the witty and encyclopedic Mason & Dixon (1997), the sprawling Against the Day (2006), the psychedelic 1970s sleuth tale Inherent Vice (2009), and the wild, 21st-century New York investigative saga Bleeding Edge (2013).

See studies by T. Tanner (1982), P. L. Cooper (1983), D. Seed (1988), S. C. Weisenburger (1988), J. Dugdale (1990), A. McHoul and D. Wills (1990), J. W. Slade (1990), J. Chambers (1992), H. Berressem (1993), A. W. Brownlie (2000), A. Mangen and R. Gaasland, ed. (2002), N. Abbas, ed. (2003), H. Bloom, ed. (2003), and D. Cowart (1980 and 2012); I. H. Dalsgaard et al., ed., The Cambridge Companion to Thomas Pynchon (2012).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Thomas Pynchon: Selected full-text books and articles

Thomas Pynchon: The Art of Allusion By David Cowart Southern Illinois University Press, 1980
Thomas Pynchon: Reading from the Margins By Niran Abbas Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2003
Pynchon's Mythography: An Approach to Gravity's Rainbow By Kathryn Hume; Curtis L. Clark Southern Illinois University Press, 1987
Pynchon and Mason and Dixon By Brooke Horvath; Irving Malin University of Delaware, 2000
The Self-Conscious Novel: Artifice in Fiction from Joyce to Pynchon By Brian Stonehill University of Pennsylvania Press, 1988
Librarian's tip: Chap. VII "Paradoxical Pynchon; or, The Real World Inside Gravity's Rainbow"
A Dangerous Crossing: French Literary Existentialism and the Modern American Novel By Richard Lehan Southern Illinois University Press, 1973
Librarian's tip: "Thomas Pynchon" begins on p. 157
The Play of the Double in Postmodern American Fiction By Gordon E. Slethaug Southern Illinois University Press, 1993
Librarian's tip: Chap. 3 "Binary Intersubjectivity: Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow"
Mapping the "Unmappable": Inhabiting the Fantastic Interface of 'Gravity's Rainbow.' By Noya, Jose Liste Studies in the Novel, Vol. 29, No. 4, Winter 1997
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Fiction in the Quantum Universe By Susan Strehle University of North Carolina Press, 1992
Librarian's tip: Chap. Two "Gravity's Rainbow and the Fiction of Quantum Continuity"
Literature and Domination: Sex, Knowledge, and Power in Modern Fiction By M. Keith Booker University Press of Florida, 1993
Librarian's tip: Chap. 4 "Mastery and Sexual Domination: Imperialism as Rape in Pynchon's V"
Looking for a topic idea? Use Questia's Topic Generator
Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


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.