Winner of the 1974 National Book Award “A screaming comes across the sky. . .” A few months after the Germans’ secret V-2 rocket bombs begin falling on London, British Intelligence discovers that a map of the city pinpointing the sexual conquests of one Lieutenant Tyrone Slothrop, U.S. Army, corresponds identically to a map showing the V-2 impact sites. The implications of this discovery will launch Slothrop on an amazing journey across war-torn Europe, fleeing an international cabal of military-industrial superpowers, in search of the mysterious Rocket 00000, through a wildly comic extravaganza that has been hailed in The New Republic as “the most profound and accomplished American novel since the end of World War II.”
In the mid-1960s, the publication of Pynchon's V and The Crying of Lot 49 introduced a brilliant new voice to American literature. Gravity's Rainbow, his convoluted, allusive novel about a metaphysical quest, published in 1973, further confirmed Pynchon's reputation as one of the greatest writers of the century.
Author: Steven C. Weisenburger
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
Release Date: 2011-03-15
Genre: Literary Criticism
Adding some 20 percent to the original content, this is a completely updated edition of Steven Weisenburger's indispensable guide to Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow. Weisenburger takes the reader page by page, often line by line, through the welter of historical references, scientific data, cultural fragments, anthropological research, jokes, and puns around which Pynchon wove his story. Weisenburger fully annotates Pynchon's use of languages ranging from Russian and Hebrew to such subdialects of English as 1940s street talk, drug lingo, and military slang as well as the more obscure terminology of black magic, Rosicrucianism, and Pavlovian psychology. The Companion also reveals the underlying organization of Gravity's Rainbow--how the book's myriad references form patterns of meaning and structure that have eluded both admirers and critics of the novel. The Companion is keyed to the pages of the principal American editions of Gravity's Rainbow: Viking/Penguin (1973), Bantam (1974), and the special, repaginated Penguin paperback (2000) honoring the novel as one of twenty "Great Books of the Twentieth Century."
Author: Zak Smith
Publisher: Tin House Books
Release Date: 2006
Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow (1973) has been called a modernFinnegans Wake for its challenging language, wild anachronisms, hallucinatory happenings, and fever-dream imagery. With Pictures Showing What Happens on Each Page of Thomas Pynchon's Novel Gravity's Rainbow, artist Zak Smith at once eases and expands readers' experience of the twentieth-century classic. Smith has created more than 750 pages of drawings, paintings, and photos--each derived from a page of Pynchon's novel. Extraordinary tableaux of the detritus of war--a burned-out Konigstiger tank, a melted machine gun--coexist alongside such fantasmagoric Pynchon inventions as the "stumbling bird" and "Grigori the octopus." Smith has said he aimed to be "as literal as possible" in interpreting Gravity's Rainbow, but his images are as imaginative and powerful as the prose they honor.
“Later than usual one summer morning in 1984 . . .” On California’s fog-hung North Coast, the enchanted redwood groves of Vineland County harbor a wild assortment of sixties survivors and refugees from the “Nixonian Reaction,” still struggling with the consequences of their past lives. Aging hippie freak Zoyd Wheeler is revving up for his annual act of televised insanity when news reaches that his old nemesis, sinister federal agent Brock Vond, has come storming into Vineland at the head of a heavily armed Justice Department strike force. Zoyd instantly disappears underground, but not before dispatching his teenage daughter Prairie on a dark odyssey into her secret, unspeakable past. . . . Freely combining disparate elements from American popular culture—spy thrillers, ninja potboilers, TV soap operas, sci-fi fantasies—Vineland emerges as what Salman Rushdie has called in The New York Times Book Review “that rarest of birds: a major political novel about what America has been doing to itself, to its children, all these many years.”
Compiling five short stories originally written between 1959 and 1964, Slow Learner showcases Thomas Pynchon’s writing before the publication of his first novel V. The stories compiled here are “The Small Rain,” “Low-lands,” “Entropy,” “Under the Rose,” and “The Secret Integration,” along with an introduction by Pynchon himself.
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a Washington Post Best Book of the Year Spanning the era between the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 and the years just after World War I, and constantly moving between locations across the globe (and to a few places not strictly speaking on the map at all), Against the Day unfolds with a phantasmagoria of characters that includes anarchists, balloonists, gamblers, drug enthusiasts, mathematicians, mad scientists, shamans, spies, and hired guns. As an era of uncertainty comes crashing down around their ears and an unpredictable future commences, these folks are mostly just trying to pursue their lives. Sometimes they manage to catch up; sometimes it’s their lives that pursue them.
The highly original satire about Oedipa Maas, a woman who finds herself enmeshed in a worldwide conspiracy, meets some extremely interesting characters and attains a not inconsiderable amount of self-knowledge.
A Best Book of the Year for the Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, and Los Angeles Times Part noir, part psychedelic romp, all Thomas Pynchon—private eye Doc Sportello surfaces, occasionally, out of a marijuana haze to watch the end of an era. It’s been awhile since Doc Sportello has seen his ex-girlfriend. Suddenly out of nowhere she shows up with a story about a plot to kidnap a billionaire land developer whom she just happens to be in love with. It’s the tail end of the psychedelic sixties in L.A., and Doc knows that “love” is another one of those words going around at the moment, like “trip” or “groovy,” except this one usually leads to trouble. In this lively yarn, Thomas Pynchon, working in an unaccustomed genre, provides a classic illustration of the principle that if you can remember the sixties, you weren’t there . . . or . . . if you were there, then you . . . or, wait, is it . . .
Author: Robert Mayer
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: 2005-03-09
Before there was WATCHMEN, there was SUPERFOLKS.... David Brinkley used to be a hero, the greatest the world had ever seen--until he retired, got married, moved to the suburbs, and packed on a few extra pounds. Now all the heroes are dead or missing, and his beloved New York is on the edge of chaos. It's up to Brinkley to come to the rescue, but he's in the midst of a serious mid-life crisis--his superpowers are failing him. At long last this classic satire that inspired comic books like Watchmen and Miracleman is back in print. It's a hilarious thriller that digs deep into the American psyche.
Author: David Cowart
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
Release Date: 2012-01-15
Genre: Literary Criticism
Thomas Pynchon helped pioneer the postmodern aesthetic. His formidable body of work challenges readers to think and perceive in ways that anticipate--with humor, insight, and cogency--much that has emerged in the field of literary theory over the past few decades. For David Cowart, Pynchon's most profound teachings are about history--history as myth, as rhetorical construct, as false consciousness, as prologue, as mirror, and as seedbed of national and literary identities. In one encyclopedic novel after another, Pynchon has reconceptualized historical periods that he sees as culturally definitive. Examining Pynchon's entire body of work, Cowart offers an engaging, metahistorical reading of V.; an exhaustive analysis of the influence of German culture in Pynchon's early work, with particular emphasis on Gravity's Rainbow; and a critical spectroscopy of those dark stars, Mason & Dixon and Against the Day. He defends the California fictions The Crying of Lot 49, Vineland, and Inherent Vice as roman fleuve chronicling the decade in which the American tapestry began to unravel. Cowart ends his study by considering Pynchon's place in literary history. Cowart argues that Pynchon has always understood the facticity of historical narrative and the historicity of storytelling--not to mention the relations of both story and history to myth. Thomas Pynchon and the Dark Passages of History offers a deft analysis of the problems of history as engaged by our greatest living novelist and argues for the continuity of Pynchon's historical vision.
The Maximalist Novel sets out to define a new genre of contemporary fiction that developed in the United States from the early 1970s, and then gained popularity in Europe in the early twenty-first century. The maximalist novel has a very strong symbolic and morphological identity. Ercolino sets out ten particular elements which define and structure it as a complex literary form: length, an encyclopedic mode, dissonant chorality, diegetic exuberance, completeness, narrratorial omniscience, paranoid imagination, inter-semiocity, ethical commitment, and hybrid realism. These ten characteristics are common to all of the seven works that centre his discussion: Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon, Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, Underworld by Don DeLillo, White Teeth by Zadie Smith, The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen, 2666 by Roberto BolaÃ±o, and 2005 dopo Cristo by the Babette Factory. Though the ten features are not all present in the same way or form in every single text, they are all decisive in defining the genre of the maximalist novel, insofar as they are systematically co-present. Taken singularly, they can be easily found both in modernist and postmodern novels, which are not maximalist. Nevertheless, it is precisely their co-presence, as well as their reciprocal articulation, which make them fundamental in demarcating the maximalist novel as a genre.