The Chumps of Choice

A Congenial Spot for the Discussion of Against the Day, by Thomas Ruggles Pynchon, Cornell '59, and Any Other Damned Thing That Comes Into Our Heads. Warning: Grad Students and Willie-Wavers will be mocked.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Additional Discussion: pp. 281-317

It seems to me that although Mr. P. has not previously written a Western revenge saga, there are plenty of resonances with his other work. For one thing, Pynchon has been working on the Dally character for a long time: there was Rachel Owlglass, for example, in V., and Geli Tripping in Gravity's Rainbow. And of course the Traverse family saga continues into Vineland.

These chapters show us a good sample of Pynchon's Luddite sentiments. His horror of electric lighting is there to see; are there parallels in his other novels? And what about photography? It seems to creep him out a bit, and maybe his famous avoidance of cameras has as much to do with that as with being "reclusive."

Finally, there's P.'s fascination with the supernatural, which goes far beyond any cheap woo-woo and yet stops short of embracing any existing doctrines of the supernatural. In this week's read we've seen alchemy and tommyknockers and conversation with a ghost. I know Gravity's Rainbow and Mason & Dixon are full of parallels. But I also note that Against the Day so far doesn't have the Christian references that are scattered through the other novels. Interest in Preterition vs. Election seems to have been replaced by Workers vs. Owners.

Have at it, Chumps!



At Friday, March 09, 2007 8:42:00 AM, Blogger Boldly Serving Up Wheat Grass said...

The Chumps should appreciate this... Anyone read that story in today's news about the glass platform an Indian tribe built out at the grand canyon? Here's the link. Read all the way down to the bottom and note the last name for the policy analyst from the Center for Biological Diversity in Tucson. I'd have bet anything that no one really had that last name...

At Saturday, March 10, 2007 7:06:00 PM, Blogger David C├ísseres said...

Egad! Great-great-great grandson of Sir John?

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