Abrams Remembers Pynchon

Author: Charles Hollander (Baltimore, MD)

  • Abrams Remembers Pynchon


    Abrams Remembers Pynchon



When I talked with John Freccero recently about parallels between Pynchon and Dante, he suggested I phone M. H. Abrams to see what he remembered about Pynchon. I did. Abrams recalled receiving a term paper from Pynchon when Pynchon was a junior at Cornell. Abrams thought it was too good to have been written by an undergraduate, and he suspected it had been plagiarized. He suggested discreetly that Pynchon make an appointment to discuss the paper (a pretext for an oral exam). Within the first few minutes of their meeting, Abrams recognized that Pynchon was the paper's author. (Funny how little things stick in the mind: forty years later, Abrams recalled Pynchon as tall and slim and sporting a pencil-line moustache.) That was their most memorable meeting. The ending of Pynchon's paper made such a haunting impression on Abrams that he read it to his classes for years, even before Pynchon became PYNCHON. I asked him if he could find it. He said he would look and leave word on my answering machine if he did. When I came back from walking my dog, Diz, this message awaited me.

How to Cite:

Hollander, C., (1996) “Abrams Remembers Pynchon”, Pynchon Notes , 179-180. doi:

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Published on
30 Sep 1996