Online Papers & Essays
These links are all to various papers, essays, and articles written about Thomas Pynchon and his work and are placed online for general perusal. They are organized by work, and then alphabetically by author.
Do you know of a paper or review we could add? Or would you like to submit one to us for inclusion? Please send us emai!
General Pynchon Papers:
Raids on the Conscious: Pynchons Legacy of Paranoia and the Terrorism of Uncertainty in Don DeLillos Ratners Star
Allen, Glen Scott
An interesting article by Dr. Allen of Towson State University, this paper originally appeared in the January 1994 edition of Postmodern Culture.
New! A Portrait of the Luddite as a Young Man
An essay on the unfinished science fiction musical, Minstral Island, that Pynchon started in 1958 with fellow Cornell undergrad, Kirkpatrick Sale (a self-proclaimed “neo-luddite” who has railed against the dangers of technology). The manuscript resides in the University of Texas, Austin’s Ransom Center, and Gibbs was the first one to take a look at it. This essay first appeared in the Denver Quarterly, and is posted here with permission.
Absurd America in the Novels of Vonnegut, Pynchon and Boyle
Hardin examines ways in which these American authors use absurdist techniques and content to engage in political and social commentary in a way that elicits laughter, thought, and action. Online at the authors homepage.
From the Cornell Alumni News, Nov. 1978. A discussion of paranoia in the works of Pynchon. Online at Otto Sells Die sauberen Schweine.
Pynchons Politics: The Presence of an Absence
From Pynchon Notes 26-27, spring-fall 1990. A discussion of Pynchons political views and their relationship to his work. Online at Vheissu.
Intruding Worlds and the Epileptic Word: Pynchons Dialogue with the Laws of Surrealism and New Physics
From the Oklahoma City University Law Review vol. 24, no. 3, 1999. This essay compares Pynchons literary evolutions with the transition between classical physics to quantum physics.
Rocketmen and Wastelands: The Destruction of the Individual and the Redemption of the Artist in Thomas Pynchon’s First Three Novels
Shord is a graduate of Washington College, Maryland, who won the nation’s largest undergraduate literary prize, the Sophie Kerr Prize, in large part thanks to his 100-page critical thesis on the works of Thomas Pynchon. Shord was awarded a check for almost $56,000 for his scholarly excellence and last we heard he’s been traveling the world. The Modern Word is proud to share the Pynchon paper worth a BMW, which could be characterized as one reader’s personal dialogue with Pynchon’s first three novels.
On Comparing Apples and Oranges: James Joyce and Thomas Pynchon
This essay, originally published in Comparative Literature Studies in 1979, is an excellent starting point on the comparison of Joyce and Pynchon. Thanks to Sara Solberg for allowing us to place it online.
Pynchons Prophesies of Cyberspace
Delivered at the first international conference on Pynchon in 1994, this paper resides on the Pomona Pynchon page and discusses ways that Cyberspace has been prefigured in Pynchons work.
Homoerotic Bonding as Escape from Heterosexual Responsibility in Pynchons Slow Learner
A close look at male bonding in Pynchons early stories. From the Fall 2000 issue of Northern Illinois Universitys Style.
A Sartrian Reading of V.
This essay proposes a reading of Thomas Pynchon’s V. through a sartrian perspective, mainly founding its approach on the concept of “dialectical reason”; this concept will be used as an interpretation key of both the ontological and the historical thematics that underlie the novel. (French only, PDF)
The Crying of Lot 49
The Paradox of Truth, the Truth of Entropy
This paper explores the use of Entropy in The Crying of Lot 49.
Pynchon, JFK and the CIA: Magic Eye Views of The Crying of Lot 49
From Pynchon Notes 40-41, spring-fall 1997. Hollanders view of Lot 49 as a scathing...look behind the political events and historical figurations that led America into the mess that was the mid-sixties. Online at Vheissu.
Ekphrasis, Escape, and Thomas Pynchons The Crying of Lot 49
A look at Pynchons novel through the surreal lens of artist Remedios Varo.
The Absurdist Heroine: A Wildean Critique of Pynchons Uncertain Aesthetic
Wallen, James R.
This paper offers a Neo-Wildean aesthetic analysis of the essential ambiguities and uncertainties behind Lot 49, and places Oedipa in a larger postmodern context as a Pynchonesque Heroine.
That Absence of Vertical Interest: The Schizoid, Reading, and Thomas Pynchons Gravitys Rainbow
This paper, which is laid out as a colorful series of Web pages, discusses the schizoid qualities of characterization in Gravitys Rainbow and how Pynchon adapts narrative form to convey this directly to the reader.
Some Things That Happen (More or Less) in Gravitys Rainbow
Bell, Michael Davitt
A chapter by chapter summary of Gravitys Rainbow. An invaluable guide for the first-time reader.
Male Pro-Feminism and the Masculine Giganticism of Gravitys Rainbow
From the May 1996 issue of Postmodern Culture, this paper discusses sex and politics in Pynchons masterpiece.
Osbie Feel and the Impenetrability of Meta-solutions; or Who Wrote Gravitys Rainbow?
This startling but well-argued paper takes the unusual position that the author of GR might indeed be one of its cast members! Online at Empty.org.
Protective Coating: Bearing the Weight of Pynchon Using the Spectrum of Freuds Insight
A Freudian look at Slothrop, his many identities, and of course his thing with rockets.
Amazon.com and the New Democracy of Opinion
Using Gravitys Rainbow as a case study, Ketzan discusses the merits and flaws of Amazon.coms user-review forum.
Paperware to Vaporware, The Nativity of Tyrone Slothrop
Lannark, Douglas Kløvedal
A detailed astrological account of Tyrone Slothrop. Online at Otto Sells Die sauberen Schweine.
Modernist Reading; Postmodernist Text: the Case of Gravitys Rainbow
As the title suggests, this is a modernist reading of Pynchons masterpiece by postmodern scholar Brian McHale.
The Feathery Rilke Mustaches and Porky Pig Tattoo on Stomach: High and Low Pressures in Gravitys Rainbow
A discussion of the many aspecrts of the Zone by a professor from the University of Oulu in Finland. Kept at the Pomona College page.
Reading Gravitys Rainbow After September Eleventh: An Anecdotal Approach
Note: Part of MUSE, accessing this paper requires a subscription. The author looks at Pynchons novel in the context of the September 11, 2001 attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. From the September 2002 issue of Postmodern Culture.
Look! Up in the Sky! Its a Bird! Its a Plane! Its...Rocketman! : Pynchons Comic Book Mythology in Gravitys Rainbow
Stevens, H. Brenton
Gravitys Rainbow, Pynchon, and comic books. Online at Middle Tennessee State University.
Cultural Trauma and the Timeless Burst: Pynchons Revision of Nostalgia in Vineland
Written by Dr. Berger of GMU, this excellent paper discusses Vineland as a work in which the trauma of the 60s coexists with its effects in the 80s, and points to a deeper understanding of complex relationship between the Left and the Right. One of the best essays Ive read about Vineland!
Thanatoids and Narrative Sliding in Vineland
du Prie, Daniel
A brief poststructuralist reading of Vineland, from the authors Poststrucuralist Page.
Abrams Remembers Pynchon
From Pynchon Notes 36-39, 1995-1996. A brief essay, this pulls a line an early Pynchon term paper and applies it to Vineland. Online at Vheissu.
Television and Literature: David Foster Wallaces Concept of Image-Fiction, Don DeLillos White Noise and Thomas Pynchons Vineland
Hummel examines the cultural, psychological and political implications of television as seen in Vineland and other works. Online at the authors homepage.
Totalizing Postmodernism: Master-narratives in Pynchons Vineland
Sullivan, Bruce A.
A look at Reaganomics, courtly love, and other master-narratives at work in Vineland.
The Presidents Emergency War Powers and the Erosion of Civil Liberties in Pynchons Vineland
From the Oklahoma City University Law Review vol. 24, no. 3, 1999. Thoreens paper contends that Vineland reflects not only the history of executive aggrandizement which has accompanied American expansion, but also the concomitant threats to Americans civil rights, including the imposition of martial law, mass detention of civilians, and asset seizures.
Vineland in the Novels of John Barth and Thomas Pynchon
A look at various Vinelands, real and fictional. Online at diss.thema, a German Web site.
Mason & Dixon
History, Uncertainty, and Trajectory: Thomas Pynchons Mason & Dixon and Gravitys Rainbow
A comparative essay on Pynchons two great epics. Online at the authors homepage.
Civic Republican Political/Legal Ethics and Echoes of the Classical Historical Novel in Thomas Pynchons Mason & Dixon
From the Oklahoma City University Law Review vol. 24, no. 3, 1999. Fischer analyzes the ways in which Mason & Dixon expresses civic republican ethics.
Mason & Dixon and the Enlightenment
Mechanical ducks, talking dogs, and prankster scientists: a discussion of Pynchons so-called Age of Reason.
An injustice that will not cancel out: Slavery and the Voice of the Victim in Mason & Dixon
Koontz, Michael D.
This paper examines slavery and the voice of the slave in Pynchons Mason & Dixon and, in doing so, analyzes much of the recent criticism on the novel.
Mason & Dixon: An Astrological Review
Lannark, Douglas Kløvedal
Astrological information about Mason & Dixon. Online at Otto Sells Die sauberen Schweine.
Counterfeiting America in Mason & Dixon
Lawrence, David W.
From the Oklahoma City University Law Review vol. 24, no. 3, 1999. 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
A discussion of Pynchon, Luddism, and C.P. Snow. Online at Columbia University.
The Line of No Return: A Study of Thomas Pynchons Mason & Dixon
Olausen, Karl-Erik F.W.
This thesis takes a broad look at Pynchons meditation on complexity, detailing its structural elements and highlighting analogies to the common day. Available here as a PDF.
Fiction at a Bifurcation Point: from Newtonian Law to Postmodern Uncertainty in Pynchons Mason & Dixon
Perez-Llantada, Carmen Auria
From the Oklahoma City University Law Review vol. 24, no. 3, 1999. 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 Pynchons Mason and Dixon
Some thoughts on Pynchons latest novel by a Swathmore literature professor.
Pynchons Legal Landscape: Justice in Mason & Dixon
From the Oklahoma City University Law Review vol. 24, no. 3, 1999. Siegels paper looks at lawyers as agents of economic and historical forces, which themselves are subject to the physical laws of the universe, and discusses Pynchons characterizations of law in Mason & Dixon.
Cumulative Bibliography of Pynchon Notes A searchable list of the articles appearing in all the issues of Pynchon Notes. (Just a bibliography; the text is not yet available.)
Pynchon im Internet Otto Sells page has numerous links to German papers about Pynchon.
The Internet Public Library Online Literary Criticism Collection This page has some links to Pynchon Literary criticism available on the Web.
Welcome to Dr. Larrys World of Discomfort, he would whisper, going through the paperwork.
Contact Dr Larry Daw if you have any questions or comments about Pynchon.
Goodo, said Picnic, blinking. Man, look at the quail.
Contact the Great Quail if you have any suggestions, submissions, or criticisms about this site.
Allen B. Ruch
& Erik Ketzan
16 October 2009