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.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Additional Discussion: pp 318-335

Here, as always, is the place to discuss the fundamental interconnectedness of Pynchon's work.



At Wednesday, March 14, 2007 8:49:00 AM, Blogger Boldly Serving Up Wheat Grass said...

Just a passing thought...

One of the other books on my current reading list lately is Wicked by Gregory Maguire (a novel a dozen years old now, but about on par for how behind the times I can get -- and also, I try to restrict my reading list to only books that Michiko Kakutani belittles).

We've discussed similar themes between LFB's Oz and ATD before, so I guess it should be no surprise that I've noticed a number of similarities between Wicked and ATD. Aside from the many political issues we've already brought up between the two works, a few notables include talk of alchemy, much discussion of economics vis-a-vis natural resources, numerous odd words or phrases peppered throughout each and shared by both, the duality of certain things (e.g., the existence of animals and "animals"), and probably a few other things I'm forgetting now.

Last night, I came across an interesting passage: "...Doctor Dillamond made some sort of a scientific breakthrough. I'm not sure what it was, but it involved manipulating lenses, a pair of them, so he could peer at bits of tissue that he had laid on a transparent glass and backlit by candlelight..."

Now, I know Maguire is referencing the microscope here (which must be a new thing in Maguire's version of Oz), but I couldn't help reflecting back on Pynchon and the spar.

The microscope's been around quite a long time -- pretty much since the telescope, as the two devices are so similar. But, it's interesting to note the role of optical devices in the development of human knowledge. Microscopes and telescopes reveal the micro and macro, but in ATD a third, more unusual lens (requiring, interestingly, only itself instead of a pair) reveals something else -- not minuscule or immense, but right here, parallel, yet hidden.

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