The Postmodernist Allegories of Thomas Pynchon

Number of pages146
PublisherNew York : St. Martin's Press
Publication date1991

This study of the major narrative works of Thomas Pynchon (V, The Crying of Lot 49, Gravity's Rainbow, Vineland) and his early fiction analyzes the narrative mechanisms that produce the uncertainty and ambiguity noted by all of Pynchon's critics. These critics have described the dynamic uncertainties of Pynchon's texts in terms of cybernetics, thermodynamics, Rilke, Weber, Jung – all terms that are offered by the fiction itself. The generic concept of postmodernist allegory allows the critic to speak from a position outside the text and allows us to see that ambiguity and indeterminancy are the effects produced by the way in which Pynchon's narratives are constructed. The analytical method used is essentially poststructuralist; the discussion focuses on the ways in which narrative rhetoric calls into question and effectively dismantles absolutist cultural discourses and the repressive socio-political values articulated by them. This is not a study in cultural materialism; it is not an analysis of the socio-political situation out of which Pynchon's work emerged. This book addresses the issue of the rhetorical engagement of the individual and culture through the medium of narrative. The final chapter discusses Pynchon's latest work, Vineland, and the early fiction collected in the volume Slow Learner. This study points to the shared issues and concerns which are expressed both in allegorical and in non-allegorical styles but which remain "postmodernist".

  • American Literature
  • Thomas Pynchon
  • Postmodernism
  • Allegory
Citation (ISO format)
MADSEN, Deborah Lea. The Postmodernist Allegories of Thomas Pynchon. New York : St. Martin’s Press, 1991.
  • PID : unige:93438

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