Terminology Part I: Lot 49 and the Post-Ethical

Author: Alec McHoul (Murdoch University)

  • Terminology Part I: Lot 49 and the Post-Ethical


    Terminology Part I: Lot 49 and the Post-Ethical



[This paper is part of a larger project called Telegrammatology." That project is, in turn, embedded within a larger ones the production of a collection of papers by myself and David Wills on the work of Thomas Pynchon and its relations with the grammatological concerns of Derrida and others. In particular, Telegranmatology sets out to address some of the questions raised in David's paper called "PLS RECORD BOOK BID LOT 49 STOP J DERRIDA." In that paper, he draws together some of the mutual concerns of Lot 49 and Derrida's Envois with respect to postal systems and the question of destination. Its title is an imagined construction of what Derrida's telegram would look like were he to be the Mysterious Bidder who arrives at the crying of the Lot. This first reply, Telegrammatology I, looks at the question of how to read Pynchon and takes an arbitrary slice through Lot 49. Prior to that, however, it considers some of the questions critics have raised in regard to pynchon's contribution to the "morality" of the 20th century. A concept of the postethical is generated to deal with this, drawing on Derrida's deconstruction of the origin/destination opposition. In Part II of the Telegranmatology, I turn to more obviously Derridean questions while remaining within the general question of how to read. If one can take an arbitrary slice through Lot 49, the same approach might work with, say, Of Grammatology. By deconstructing the distinction between the correct and the erroneous, Part II shows how a collection of errors in the Derrida text can generate a positive reading, leading to a concept of the unrhetorical (on the model of the "unconscious").]

How to Cite:

McHoul, A., (1986) “Terminology Part I: Lot 49 and the Post-Ethical”, Pynchon Notes , 39-54. doi:

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Published on
22 Sep 1986