Alfred North Whitehead remarked that Shelley could have become a Newton in chemistry. And Pynchon, we want to say, could have become a, well, Pynchon–in physics. Shelley and Pynchon both use science extensively, and indeed Gravity's Rainbow would be an apt subtitle for Prometheus Unbound, and vice-versa. But Prometheus's fire-theft and Slothrop's rocketry also have much more than combustion in common. The poetic drama and the novel mythologize the loss of unitary reality in the rise of consciousness, and herald the recovery of that reality in the birth of imagination. Shelley's remarks in his essay "On Life" can serve as a reference point for both.
How to Cite: Benoit, R . (1992) “Slothrop Unbound: Shelley's Prometheus and Gravity's Rainbow”, Pynchon Notes. doi: 10.16995/pn.243