From Puritanism to Paranoia: Trajectories of History in Weber and Pynchon



Pynchon's novels are well known for making wide-ranging allusions to other works. The sociology of Max Weber, like other material that informs Pynchon's writings, is a pervasive influence and yet difficult to pin down. This is especially true of Gravity's Rainbow. Pynchon's interest in Weber is not surprising since his central concerns include the nature of historical interpretation and the impact of science on the modern world. Both the novelist and the sociologist explore, in their different ways, the fate of humanity in a disenchanted and increasingly bureaucratized world. In light of this affinity, we must ask whether Weber's social thought can shed any light on the central themes in Pynchon's novels, and, more specifically, how it influences Pynchon's ideas about history and about the role of science in the modern world. We may also put the question the other way around, asking whether the themes in Weber's work gain an additional dimension by being dealt with in fictional form.


How to Cite: Schroeder, R. (1990) “From Puritanism to Paranoia: Trajectories of History in Weber and Pynchon”, Pynchon Notes.(0). doi: