Book chapter
Open access

Pynchon and the Tradition of American Romance

PublisherNew York : Modern Language Association
Publication date2008

In this essay I argue that a pedagogical approach based on the generic style of Pynchon's narratives is essential to foster an accurate understanding of Pynchon's use of language and symbolism, his deployment of the quest structure, and the types of characters he creates as well as the settings in which he places them. Though commonly referred to as “novels,” V, The Crying of Lot 49, Gravity's Rainbow, and Mason & Dixon conform to the definition of romance narrative proposed by Nathaniel Hawthorne and properly belong to the tradition of American literary romance. This essay indicates how generic characteristics of romance narrative inform the structure, language, style and themes of Pynchon's fiction.

  • Thomas Pynchon
  • American romance
  • Genre
  • Narrative
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Herman Melville
Citation (ISO format)
MADSEN, Deborah Lea. Pynchon and the Tradition of American Romance. In: Approaches to Teaching Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49 and Other Works. New York : Modern Language Association, 2008. p. 195.
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Book chapter (Accepted version)
  • PID : unige:92020

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