Re-reading Gravity’s Rainbow — for the first time in decades — has been a remarkable experience. Among other things, I had forgotten how dark the book is and how interested in bizarre sexual practices. But if rereading his first two novels had already begun to reward my intuition that Pynchon was going to help me understand the technological history of modernity, GR has exceeded all my hopes. In fact, one scene in particular illuminated a great deal that had been in darkness to me, and after reading it I began to discern the order and shape of the intellectual landscape in new and exciting ways. A narrative, a kind of critical theological meditation on the emergence and development of the modern world, started to come together in my mind.
But see, I can’t talk about that here. Because now all this stuff is going to have to be a book, and editors don’t like it when the key elements of a book are already available for free online. And truth be told, I am reluctant to put this new understanding forth in half-baked ways. I need to get to work on organizing and developing it properly, with clarity and scholarly depth.
So the Great Pynchon Read-Through is going to continue, but I won’t be blogging it — at least, not the central insights that emerge from it (I might follow some more rabbit trails). My apologies to the three of you who care.
Tomorrow: a recapitulation of my year in technology.
Was looking forward to observations about the preterite, an eschatological term/idea that I recall frequently appearing in GR. Have begun re-reading V, after many years, thanks to your project.
Thanks, from this fourth who cares.
Have you read Heidegger's The Question Concerning Technology – or his treatments of tech in Being & Time? I am interested to know how that might connect with Pynchon's engagement with it, particularly here in Gravity's Rainbow. I suppose I shall have to read Pynchon now… Thanks for this pointer!
Myron: I don't see any overlap between Pynchon and Heidegger, but of course it's possible that I'm missing something.
Well boo! But also, great!
Permit me to repeat Freddie: boo! By my count that's at least four who care. Maybe that fact will sway you?
Thanks for the support, friends! I will probably continue to have some things to say about Pynchon as a read and think, just not on the questions that centrally concern me — because after all those editors are fierce, and you can't really expect me to turn down a multi-million dollar payoff, the kind of payoff that comes inevitably when you're writing about Thomas Pynchon, technology, and theology, just to please a handful of blog readers — now can you?
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