While not a dismal science, annotation is at best an inexact one–especially when applied to a text as polymathically perverse as Gravity'S Rainbow. Like other readers, annotators are burdened by their own plots, their "terministic screens," as Kenneth Burke would have it, as well as by the chimeric nature of their archaeologies: the haphazardly attained, hermetical cultural literacy of another human being. One is not surprised that information not tending directly to support the annotator's thesis occasionally slips through the cracks or that the annotator might stop looking when he or she seems to have found an adequate source. This notwithstanding, while most of us expect readings of literary works (even those readings which can be said to have motivated the annotator's undertaking) to change or be disputed over time, we maintain a faith sweet to behold in the accuracy of verifiable annotations: the abortifacient properties of pennyroyal in The Country of the Pointed Firs, the intertextual and biographical resonances of the given name of Humbert's nymphet Dolores, the color of Wehrmacht undershirts versus that of SS undershirts in Gravity's Rainbow. Since the annotation can be verified, it must have been, goes the reasoning. Why bother to check it out again?
How to Cite:
Schaechterle Loranger, C., (1999) “"His Kipling Period": Bakhtinian Reflections on Annotation, Heteroglossia and Terrorism in the Pynchon Trade”, Pynchon Notes , p.155-168. doi: https://doi.org/10.16995/pn.124