Slothrop’s half-century


There is nothing in contemporary literature to compare with it, certainly not in English. All the lesser pretenders—John Barth, Richard Powers, David Foster Wallace, Jonathan Franzen, even Don DeLillo—seem small and trivial in the glow of its mad quasar-pulses of brilliance. The risks taken here, in 1973, are so astonishing in retrospect largely because of everybody else’s incapacity to match them.

The burning question will always be: for whom was Pynchon writing? There was no ready readership for a book composed of such disparate, off-putting materials and crazy shifts of tone.

Yet Gravity’s Rainbow created one from scratch, the way Einstein created a new image of the universe and the universe rearranged itself accordingly.

Julian Murphet on Thomas Pynchon’s magnum opus which was published 50 years ago today. Happy birthday, Rocket book. I finally tackled the thing a couple of years ago, and wrote about the experience here.

Previously on { feuilleton }
The Late Show: Thomas Pynchon
Esoterica 49
Pynchonian cinema
Going beyond the zero
Pynchon and Varo
Thomas Pynchon – A Journey into the Mind of [P.]