Pynchon Notes

Articles from No. 52-53, Spring-Fall

Anarchist Miracles: Distributed Communities, Nodal Subjects and the Crying of Lot 49
Throughout his works, but especially in Gravity's Rainbow and Vineland, Pynchon is concerned with the ability of individuals and groups to resist forces of domination and control. In Gravity's Rainbow, the preterite must struggle against those who...
Bending the Parabola, Breaking the Circle: The Idea of a Cusp in Gravity's Rainbow
Among the images from mathematics appearing throughout Gravity's Rainbow, two particular curves dominate. One, of course, is the titular parabola, which, as Steven Weisenburger points out, symbolizes "disease, dementia, and destruction" (10). The second...
Bibliography (-2005)
We invite readers to contribute bibliographic information about books, chapters, essays, articles, reviews, interviews, translations, newspaper and magazine stories, dissertations, fragments, oddments, stray comments, conference papers, bibliographies,...
Prurient Ethics: Representing Multiple Subjectivity in Gravity's Rainbow
To discuss subjectivity in relation to ethics is difficult because such a focus necessarily invokes ideas of difference, and difference as a theoretical term has many definitions in a variety of critical conversations. On the one hand, poststructuralism--the...
Pynchon's Age of Reason: Mason & Dixon and America's Rise of Rational Discourse
Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not yet sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favor; a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable...
Pynchon's Alternative Ethics of Writing in V.: The Problem of Authorship in the "Confessions of Fausto Maijstral"
I wondered if the disassembly of the Bad Priest might not go on, and on, into evening. Surely her arms and breasts could be detached; the skin of her legs be peeled away to reveal some intricate understructure of silver openwork. Perhaps the trunk...
Rationalizing Community: Victims, Institutions and Analogies for America in Mason & Dixon
"Why haven't we heard a Tale about America?" --Thomas Pynchon (M&D 7) 1: Redeeming Silences "History is hard to know," Hunter S. Thompson laments, "because of all the hired bullshit" (67). Hired history, Thomas Pynchon laments, rationalizes...
Remarks on Following Gravity's Rainbow
The comments below are excerpted and slightly revised from an interview conducted by Joanne Drayton and published in Brit Bunkley: Critical Illusions, catalogue for the exhibition Following Gravity's Rainbow, Pelorus Trust Mediagallery, New Zealand...
Surprise Birthday Party for Thomas Pynchon
No chief yeoman tried "to urinate in the gas tank of a '54 Packard Patrician" parked outside the bar, but on 8 May, 1975, patrons inside Riordan's waterfront tavern in San Francisco experienced an invasion of unfamiliar characters carrying books by...
The Anarchist Miracle and Magic in Mason & Dixon
From early in Pynchon's career, the magical and the miraculous have been central themes. In The Crying of Lot 49, Jesus Arrabal defines a miracle as "'another world's intrusion into this one'" (120), a phrase Oedipa Maas echoes when she wonders "[i]f...
The Crying of Lot 49 and C. S. Peirce's Theory of Self-Organization
The possible relevance of the unusual names Oedipa, Thum and Taxis, and Pierce Inverarity to themes in The Crying of Lot 49 has intrigued Pynchon critics since the novel's publication. Oedipa's name, many agree, points to her role as a solver of riddles,...
The Formation of the Rocket-Nation: Abstract Systems in Gravity's Rainbow
Gravity's Rainbow begins with the sound of a rocket that blasts London near the end of the Second World War, and ends with the scene of a Los Angeles theater on which a rocket is falling in the middle of the Cold War. Rockets do not respect national...
The Harmless Yank Hobby: Maps, Games, Missiles and Sundry Paranoias in Time out of Joint and Gravity's Rainbow
At this climactic moment, when he could bear the preternatural joy no longer, he threw a small switch. With a deafening bellow, a magnificent billow of orange flame spurted out of the rocket. Every throat in Heldon joined with Feric's in a wordless...
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