Ideas of Community in The Crying of Lot 49



In his famous essay “The Sacred, the Profane and The Crying of Lot 49,” Edward Mendelson wrote, “The processes of V. isolate; those of Lot 49 create community” (114). The main aim of this paper is to assess the second half of that statement. I intend to analyze some ideas of “community” that can be found in Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49. To do so, I will follow a double approach, sociological and rhetorical, in order to examine how communities are described in the novel, what tropes are used to refer to the relationships between members of those communities, and what role they might play in narrative development. My analysis will draw on some recent writings by Maurice Blanchot, Jean Luc Nancy, Alphonso Lingis, and J. Hillis Miller, all of whom have proposed models of community that seem particularly relevant for the analysis of the kind of collectivity portrayed by Pynchon in Lot 49.


How to Cite: Salván, P. M. (2011) “Ideas of Community in The Crying of Lot 49”, Pynchon Notes.(0). doi: