Paranoia vs. Anti-paranoia in Gravity's Rainbow

Authors

1 Prof. of English Literature

2 English Literature Ph.D. Candidate

Abstract

Gravity's Rainbow is among the “most widely celebrated, unread novels” of American literature and already “a piece of minor folklore.” Pynchon's genius manifests itself in his uniquely wide range of subject matter and literary techniques of presentation, narration, and interpretation. Gravity's Rainbow is a novel based on various sets of parallels, oppositions and double structures. These parallel patterns are abundant both in the structure of the novel, and in the content, characterization, and themes. In this paper two of these binaries, paranoia and anti-paranoia, are discussed to show how Pynchon enjoys involving his characters and his readers in a cosmos in which no absolute truth and no singular concept can survive on its own; a universe in which certainty is a luxury that no one can reach.

Keywords


Apter, E. (2006). On oneworldedness: Or paranoia as a world system. American Litrary History, 18 (2), 365-389.

Attewell, N. (2004). Bouncy little tunes: Nostalgia, sentimentality, and narrative in gravity's rainbow. Contemporary Literature, 45 (1), Spring, 22-48.

Bloom, Harold, Ed. (1986). Modern critical interpretations: Thomas pynchon's gravity's rainbow. New York: Chelsea House Publishers.

Bové, Paul A. (2004). History and fiction: The narrative voices of pynchon's gravity's rainbow. Modern Fiction Studies, 50 (3), 657-680.

Cowart, D. (1980). Thomas pynchon: The art of allusion. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

Dougherty, D. C. (1995). Nemeses and MacGuffins: Paranoia as focal metaphor in Stanley Elkin, Joseph Heller, and Thomas Pynchon. The Review of Contemporary Fiction, 15 (Summer), 70-78.

Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders. (2008). Available at <http://www. minddisorders.com/Ob-Ps/Paranoia.html>, Accessed April 5, 2008.

Fussell, P. (1986). The Ritual of Military Memory. In Harold Bloom (ed.), Modern critical interpretations: Thomas pynchon's gravity's rainbow. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 21-27.

Hume, K. (1987). Pynchon’s mythography: An approach to gravity’s rainbow. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

Lewis, B. (2001). Postmodernism and Literature (or: Word salad days, 1960s-90). In Stuart Sim (ed.), The routledge companion to postmodernism, London: Routledge, 121-133.

 

Lynd, M. (2004). Science, Narrative, and Agency in Gravity's Rainbow. Critique, 46 (1), 63-80.

Mackey, L. (1986). Paranoia, Pynchon, and Preterition. in Harold Bloom (ed.), Modern critical interpretations: Thomas pynchon's gravity's rainbow. New York: Chelsea House Publishers. 11-20.

Melley, Timothy. (2000). Empire of conspiracy: The culture of paranoia in postwar america. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Mendelson, E. (1986). Gravity's Encyclopedia. in Harold Bloom (ed.), Modern critical interpretations: Thomas pynchon's gravity's rainbow. New York: Chelsea House Publishers. 29-52.

Moore, T. (1987). The style of connectedness: Gravity's rainbow and thomas pynchon. Colombia, Missouri: University of Missouri Press.

Nicol, B. (1999). Reading paranoia: Paranoia, epistemophilia and the postmodern crisis of interpretation. Literature and Psychology, 45 (1/2), 44-62.

Poirier, R. (1986). Rocket Power. In Harold Bloom (ed.), Modern critical interpretations: Thomas pynchon's gravity's rainbow. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 11-20.

Pynchon, T. (1973). Gravity's rainbow. Toronto: Bantam Books.

Rosenfeld, Aaron S. (2004). The 'Scanty Plot': Orwell, Pynchon, and the Poetics of Paranoia. Twentieth Century Literature. 50 (4), 337-368.

Sanders, Scott. (1975). Pynchon's paranoid history. Twentieth Century Literature, 21 (2), May, 177-192.

Siegel, Mark R. (1987). Pynchon: Creative paranoia in gravity's rainbow. Port Washington: Kennikat Press Corp.

Slethaug, Gordon, E. (1993). The play of the double in postmodern american fiction. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

Tanner, T. (1986). Gravity's rainbow: An experience in modern reading. In Harold Bloom (ed.), Modern critical interpretations: Thomas pynchon's gravity's rainbow. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 69-83.

Wall Hind, Elizabeth Jane. (2000). Thomas Pynchon, wit, and the works of supernatural. Rocky Mountain Review of Language and Literature, 54 (1), 23-40.