Staying the Course: Pynchon 101

Author: Alison Russell (Xavier University)

  • Staying the Course: Pynchon 101


    Staying the Course: Pynchon 101



Following the format of his earlier Companion to The Crying of Lot 49, J. Kerry Grant tackles Pynchon's first novel in his new offering, similarly targeted to those teaching or studying the novel in undergraduate courses. As Grant notes in his introduction, A Companion to V. is designed primarily to ease the inexperienced reader's first encounter with the daunting aspects of V., "its shifting points of view and its complex narrative structure, its cast of more than 150 characters and its extraordinarily wide range of reference" (xi). That said, Grant's companion will also appeal to a wider audience, for even sophisticated readers will appreciate not having to spend hours tracking down the sources of Pynchon's allusions or looking up critical commentaries about details of the novel. Need a primer on Wittgenstein's Tractatus? A clarification of Freud's psychoanalytic version of the theory of entropy? A brief biography of Mohammed Ahmad Ibn AI-Saiyid Abd Allah? Grant's companion proffers helpful illumination, giving fairly equal attention to frequently cited passages and fleeting details in the novel.

How to Cite:

Russell, A., (2001) “Staying the Course: Pynchon 101”, Pynchon Notes , 247-250. doi:

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Published on
21 Sep 2001