Reading: Medicine and the Paranormal in Gravity’s Rainbow: Ephyre, Anaphylaxis, and That Charles Richet

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Medicine and the Paranormal in Gravity’s Rainbow: Ephyre, Anaphylaxis, and That Charles Richet

Authors:

Terry Reilly ,

University of Alaska, Fairbanks
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Steve Tomaske

California State University, Los Angeles
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Abstract

Since Lawrence Wolfley’s 1977 article “Repression’s Rainbow: The Presence of Norman O. Brown in Pynchon’s Big Novel,” commentators on Pynchon’s writing have often found themselves in uncomfortable and sometimes ridiculous positions where they are forced to argue about the importance of something although or because it is not explicitly in Pynchon’s text. Using various forms of logic, they find themselves “seeking other orders behind the visible” (GR 188), often concluding that something’s present because it’s absent. This paper, which proudly follows in that tradition, is divided into four short parts: the first part is a brief biography of Charles Richet; the second surveys his interests in the paranormal and psychic phenomena, emphasizing what we think are echoes in Gravity’s Rainbow; the third discusses his work on anaphylaxis, particularly as it relates to Gravity’s Rainbow; and in the fourth, we will try to connect the pieces and explain why Richet is, to our minds, perhaps one of the most important historical figures not mentioned in Gravity’s Rainbow.
How to Cite: Reilly, T. & Tomaske, S., (2009). Medicine and the Paranormal in Gravity’s Rainbow: Ephyre, Anaphylaxis, and That Charles Richet. Pynchon Notes. (56-57), pp.181–191. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/pn.13
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Published on 22 Sep 2009.
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