Gravity's Rainbow

Pynchon, Thomas

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© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Gravity's Rainbow: Selected full-text books and articles

Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow By Harold Bloom Chelsea House, 1986
Librarian’s tip: This is a book of literary criticism
A Gravity's Rainbow Companion: Sources and Contexts for Pynchon's Novel By Steven C. Weisenburger University of Georgia Press, 2006 (2nd edition)
Pynchon's Mythography: An Approach to Gravity's Rainbow By Kathryn Hume; Curtis L. Clark Southern Illinois University Press, 1987
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"
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"
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"
Intersections: Fantasy and Science Fiction By George E. Slusser; Eric S. Rabkin Southern Illinois University Press, 1987
Librarian’s tip: "Gravity's Rainbow: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Mythology" begins on p. 190
Thomas Pynchon: Reading from the Margins By Niran Abbas Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2003
Librarian’s tip: "Black and White Rainbows and Blurry Lines: Sexual Deviance/Diversity in Gravity's Rainbow and Mason & Dixon" begins on p. 108
Thomas Pynchon: The Art of Allusion By David Cowart Southern Illinois University Press, 1980
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "'Making the Unreal Reel': Film in Gravity's Rainbow"
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