Pynchon in Watts

Author: David Seed (The University of Liverpool)

  • Pynchon in Watts


    Pynchon in Watts



In 1966 Pynchon made his one excursion into journalism by producing an article on Watts in the aftermath of the August 1965 riots. He wrote the piece partly at the invitation of J. Kirkpatrick Sale, who was then editor of the New York Times Magazine, and partly, in the words of the current culture editor, "from his concern for Watts." Pynchon had known Sale during their corn2ll days, when the latter was editor of the Daily Sun. Pynchon's article, "A Journey Into the Mind of Watts" appeared in the NYT Magazine for June 12, 1966 and was illustrated with photographs showing police cars cruising the area, street scenes, a domino parlour, etc. 3 This article has received comparatively little attention in discussions of Pynchon's fiction, rarely getting more than a passing mention. The only two critics who have examined it in some detail--Joseph Slade and William Plater--both agree that it develops themes that are important in the fiction. Slade remains rather uncertain about its journalistic value, describing it on the same page as "a skillful piece of journalism" and "unremarkable."

How to Cite:

Seed, D., (1982) “Pynchon in Watts”, Pynchon Notes 9, 54-60. doi:

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Published on
31 May 1982