Strangely Attractive: The Topology of Psychic and Social Space in Vineland



In Gravity's Rainbow, Brigadier Pudding oscillates catastrophically between two impossibilities or, as Gilles Deleuze calls them in The Fold, "incompossibilit[ies]" (60). On the one hand, he attempts to list a" historical bifurcations that might come to define the next epoch in a work-in-progress entitled Things That Can Happen in European Politics. This project, however, is inherently self-defeating because of what Deleuze and Guattari call the "contingent … [and] singular" (AO 140), and thus un-projectable structure of historical time: '''Never make it: he found himself muttering at the beginning of each day's work-'it's changing out from under me. Oh, dodgy–very dodgy'" (GR 77). On the other hand, Pudding tries to escape history and historiography altogether in his sado-masochistic rituals with Katje Borgesius, "bound [in both senses of the word] by nothing but his need for pain, for something real, something pure" (234). His need for immediacy is a direct result of the fact that "[t]hey have taken him so far from his simple nerves. They have stuffed paper illusions … between him and this truth … his true body" (234-35; emphasis added). Caught in this, for him ultimately deadly, double bind, Pudding seems to flip-flop between controlled, scripted subject and what Deleuze and Guattari would consider out-of-control schizophrenic, between the "theater of representation" and the factory of "desiring-production" (AO 271). In fact, in a notorious anal and fecal passage, Pudding becomes the perfect double image of Deleuze and Guattari's differentiation between the mouth that speaks and the mouth that eats. Yet–and the fact that in Pudding's case the production is a production of pain already insinuates this–things are not this simple.


How to Cite:

Berressem H., (1994) “Strangely Attractive: The Topology of Psychic and Social Space in Vineland”, Pynchon Notes 0(0). p.38-55. doi: