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Reading Pynchon’s Counternarratives
Volume Editor:
Against the Grain: Reading Pynchon’s Counternarratives is the first book that critically addresses Thomas Pynchon’s novel Against the Day, published in 2006. The nineteen essays collected in this volume employ a large variety of approaches to this massive novel and also take it as an opportunity to reevaluate Pynchon’s earlier works, analyzing Against the Day in relation to V., The Crying of Lot 49, Gravity’s Rainbow, Vineland, Mason & Dixon, and Pynchon’s short stories and essays. The authors—younger as well as established scholars from eleven countries—address these works with regard to issues of modernism and postmodernism, politics, popular culture, concepts of space and time, visuality, sexuality, identity, media and communication, philosophy, religion, American and global (literary) history, physics, mathematics, economics, and many more. Their insights are as profound as they are diverse, and all provide fresh views on Pynchon’s fiction that will be useful, fascinating and entertaining for researchers and fans alike.
In: Against the Grain

This introduction takes Thomas Pynchon’s 2006 novel Against the Day as an occasion to raise the question of whether it is still legitimate to classify Pynchon as a postmodern author. The essay presents two major ways in which Against the Day transcends the category of the postmodern and thereby invites readers to reevaluate Pynchon’s whole oeuvre anew while emphasizing once again its political dimension. Firstly, Against the Day is interpreted as a postnational novel that challenges the metanarrative of nation-ness in a variety of ways and thereby continues a project Pynchon has been pursuing at least since The Crying of Lot 49. Secondly, Against the Day is conceived of as a complex text in the sense of combining real and imaginary aspects, discussing the use of mathematics in the novel with special emphasis on aspects of describing, imagining and changing this world as well as many other worlds. Both these aspects illustrate how Against the Day exceeds the boundaries of postmodernist fiction and imply that Pynchon’s novels in general are always so much more than postmodern.

In: Against the Grain
In: Against the Grain
In: Against the Grain
In: Gründungsorte der Moderne

Abstract

This essay addresses the dialectics of names in Thomas Pynchon’s novels, arguing that they both use and undermine the stylistic element of the telling name in order to force readers into the very situation of interpretive ambiguity that the novels are concerned with on the plot level. The Pynchonian name therefore condenses and intensifies those processes of meaning-making and pattern recognition that characterize not just a reading of Pynchon’s novels but any reading.

In: Poetica
In: Gründungsorte der Moderne
In: Gründungsorte der Moderne
In: Gründungsorte der Moderne