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History, Refusal and the Strategic-Essentialist Politics of Pynchon's Vineland

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Abstract

How are we to reconcile these two seemingly incongruous political programs? As Pynchon describes Sasha Gates's recognition of the allure of refusal, with a trademark flourish, he capitalizes History, creating for it a counterbalancing air of ominous inescapability, transcendence and heavy predestination. Still, he will not have Sasha be totally discouraged: even in the face of this stark opposition, she sees that "refusing to take shit" might not be futile. Though strife and oppression seem preordained in a world subject to the laws of some abstract and theoretical "History," a practical mode of refusal–one recognizing that problems begin with other real and accessible "humans" necessarily "living here on the planet, often well within reach"–just might constitute an effective response.

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N. doCarmo S., (1999) “History, Refusal and the Strategic-Essentialist Politics of Pynchon's Vineland”, Pynchon Notes 0(0). p.173-194. doi: https://doi.org/10.16995/pn.127