Mason & Dixon

Often causing future strangers to remember them as Dixon and Mason

Mason & Dixon
This page will serve as an area devoted Pynchon’s epic novel, Mason & Dixon. It contains Dr. Daw’s review, links to other M&D sites, and some other related items of possible interest. If you have anything to add, please mail it to us.

Spermatikos Logos Resources

Official Press Release – Courtesy of Henry Holt & Co.

Dr Larry Daw’s Review – Spermatikos Logos’ own Dr Larry Daw’s disppointed review of Mason & Dixon.

New! Mason & Dixon: Three Pages a Day – Toby Levy of the Pynchon List spent nine months making a close reading of Mason & Dixon. The result is a 95-page document that examines the book page by page, offering plot summaries, definitions for arcane vocabulary words, useful Web links, and more. A very impressive achievement, we are happy to offer Toby’s annotations as a PDF.

Offsite Resources

The Mason & Dixon page – Maintained by the indomitable Tim Ware at HyperArts, this excellent page is a growing Web guide organized like an online encyclopedia. It also holds a slew of amazingly useful resources! The definitive M&D Page.

Peter Schmidt’s Mason & Dixon Reading Notes – Broken down into 78 chapter summaries, Schmidt provides notes and plot synopsis.

New! Mason & Dixon Reader – Toby Levy’s “Mason & Dixon: Three Pages a Day” has been converted to an attractive WordPress blog. (This is the same document available above as a PDF.)

Mason & Dixon Reading Guide – The Holt Publishing company’s reading guide to Mason & Dixon.

A Conversation between David Ulin and Brian Stonehill – The LA Times interviews Pomona College’s Brian Stionehill on the realease of M&D.

Amazon.com listing for Mason & Dixon – A convenient online source for purchasing the novel, this page also holds a host of reviews.

Papers

Mason & Dixon and the Enlightenment
Ketzan, Erik
Mechanical ducks, talking dogs, and prankster scientists: a discussion of Pynchon’s so-called “Age of Reason.”

Mason & Dixon: An Astrological Review
Lannark, Douglas Kløvedal
Astrological information about Mason & Dixon. Online at Otto Sell’s “Die sauberen Schweine.”

Counterfeiting America in Mason & Dixon
Lawrence, David W.
Lawrence reads Mason & Dixon as a “kind of unfounding document, a counterfeit history that is fabulistic in its rendering of pre-Revolutionary America.”

Ducking the Snovian Disjunction: The ’both/and’ logic of Mason & Dixon
Millard, Bill
A discussion of Pynchon, Luddism, and C.P. Snow. Online at Columbia University.

Fiction at a Bifurcation Point: from Newtonian Law to Postmodern Uncertainty in Pynchon’s Mason & Dixon
Perez-Llantada, Carmen Auria
This paper reads Mason & Dixon as a “a narrative which masterfully depicts a radical shift in the history of ideas: the collapse of the age of reason and Newtonian laws, followed by the birth of a new age ruled by the principles of chaos and indeterminacy.”

Line, Vortex, and Mound: On First Reading Thomas Pynchon’s Mason and Dixon
Schmidt, Peter
Some thoughts on Pynchon’s latest novel by a Swathmore literature professor.

Pynchon’s Legal Landscape: Justice in Mason & Dixon
Siegel, Mark
Siegel’s paper looks at lawyers as “agents of economic and historical forces, which themselves are subject to the physical laws of the universe,” and discusses Pynchon’s characterizations of law in Mason & Dixon.

Reviews

Weird Morning America
McLemee, Scott
From the April 25, 1997 Salon.com, this positive review is accompanied by some wonderful graphics!

Pynchon Draws the Line
Skenazy, Paul
From the April 27, 1997 San Francisco Chronicle, this mixed review is from the provost of Kresge College at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Pynchon Hits the Road With Mason and Dixon
Kakutani, Michiko
From the April 29, 1997 New York Times, this review considers M&D an ambitious and poignant epic.

Telluric Texts, Implicate Spaces
Mattessich, Stefan
An insightful and positive analysis of the work from Professor Mattessich.

Surveyors of the Enlightenment
Moody, Rick
From the May 1997 Atlantic Monthly, this positive review also discusses Pynchon and his techniques.

Roman à Cleft
Keough, Peter
From the May 1997 Boston Phoenix, this review is by their film editor.

Dog’s Dinner of a Book
Skea, Anne
From the May 1997 Eclectica, Skea finds it a glorious mess.

Z. Pynchon’s Tiresome Mind Games
Kirn, Walter
From the May 6, 1997 edition of Slate, this is a negative but very attractively laid-out review.

The Great Divide
Boyle, T. Coraghessan
From the May 18, 1997 New York Times, this is a very positive review.

Entropology
Menand, Loius
From the June 12, 1997 New York Review of Books, a very detailed review of an “astonishing and wonderful” book.

Author Pynchon Returns
Reid, James
From the June 13, 1997 Penn State Daily Collegian (a paper your humble quailish narrator one wrote for!), this review finds the novel good, but lacking in urgency.

Pynchon’s Line Dance
Brazell, Bill
From the June 26, 1997 Metro. Compares Pynchon to the Bard, and provides a few links.

Cryptic Messages
de Pastino, Blake
From the July 27, 1997 Alibi. Enjoys the themes, but finds the prose style too thorny.

Great Expectations
Mr. Mxyzptlk
From the July 28, 1997 Suck. Needless to say, the review finds that the book, well, sucks.

Mason & Dixon
Siegel, Mark
From the August 1997 H-Net, Siegel (heh heh) calls this the “greatest of Pynchon’s works.”

Making the Rounds of History
Hinds, Elizabeth Jane Wall
From the 1998/99 Electronic Book Review (ebr8), this is a fairly sophisticated look at M&D.

Mason & Dixon
Daw, Larry
Spermatikos Logos’ own Dr Larry Daw’s disppointed review of Mason & Dixon.

Linear Pynchon
Pelovitz, David
From e-Zone, a positive and descriptive review, with some (largely out-of-date) links.

Mason & Dixon
Duyfhuizen, Bernard
Posted on the HyperArts Pynchon site, this review is by an editor of Pynchon Notes.

Mason & Dixon
LeClair, Tom
Tom LeClair of the Prodigious Prose project has placed his review online on their Pynchon Node.

All Lined Up: Pynchon Goes Long and Connects Again
Boyd, Greg
From Eye magazine, this short review is positive but fairly simple.

Mystery Train
Livingstone, David B.
A mixed review from Spike magazine.

A Review of Mason & Dixon
Alford, Steven E.
Professional book reviewer Steve Alford gives a mixed review to M&D.

Mason & Dixon
Unruh, Wes
From Green Man Review. A short, positive review from the “roots and branches of arts and culture.”

Books

Mason & Dixon
Thomas Pynchon / Hardcover / Published 1997
Our Price: $19.25

Mason & Dixon
Thomas Pynchon / Paperback / Published 1998
Our Price: $11.90

Pynchon and Mason & Dixon
Horvath, Brooke and Irving Malin (eds). Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2000.
Our Price: $39.50

Mason & Dixon & Pynchon
Clerc, Charles. Lanham: University Press of America, 2000.
Our Price: $26.50

Reference

Mapping the Line
(Primary and Secondary Sources)

Close Encounters of the First Kind, 1585-1767 – “Details from the map of the boundary survey between Maryland and Pennsylvania by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon. SPECIAL COLLECTIONS (Maryland State Archives Map Collection), MSA SC 1427-74-1/2.”

The Mason-Dixon Line – John Cletheroe’s extensive page on the M-D line.

About.com: Mason-Dixon Line – About.com’s page has images and links.

The Mason-Dixon Line: A Short History – By By Robert B. Van Atta. From the November 12, 2000 issue of the Greensburg, PA Tribune-Review.

Cope, Thomas D. “A Frame of Reference for Mason and Dixon.” Proceedings of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science 19 (1945).

Cummings, Hubertis M. The Mason and Dixon Line: Story for a Bicentenary 1763-1963. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 1963.

Danson, Edwin. Drawing the Line: How Mason and Dixon Surveyed the Most Famous Border in America. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2001.

Ecenbarger, William. Walkin’ the Line: A Journey from Past to Present along the Mason-Dixon. New York: M.Evans & Co., 2000.

Hollis, H.P. “Jeremiah Dixon and His Brother.” Journal of the British
Astronomical Association
44 (1934).

Latrobe, John H.B. The History of Mason and Dixon’s Line. Philadelphia: Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1855.

Lefever, Barbara Susan. The Stargazers. York, Pennsylvania: Printing Express, 1986. (novel)

Mason, A Hughlett (ed.). The Journal of Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1969.

Mathews, Edward Bennett. “History of the Boundary Dispute between the Baltimores and Penns Resulting in the Original Mason and Dixon Line.” Report on the Resurvey of the Maryland-Pennsylvania Boundary. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Harrisburg Publishing, 1909.

Miers, Earl Schenck. Border Romance: The Story of the Exploits of Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon. Newark, Delaware: Spiral Press, 1965.

Robinson, H.W. “Jeremiah Dixon (1733-1779): A Biographical Note,”
Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 94.3 (June 1950): pp. 272-4

St. George, Judith. Mason and Dixon’s Line of Fire. Putnam, 1991


–Allen B. Ruch
& Rob Jackson
(With help from Tim Ware and the Pynchon List)
8 December 2006

“Welcome to Dr. Larry’s World of Discomfort,” he would whisper, going through the paperwork.
Contact Dr Larry Daw if you have any questions or comments about Pynchon.

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Contact the Great Quail if you have any suggestions, submissions, or criticisms about this site.


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