Steven Weisenburger would call Gravity's Rainbow a satire, albeit of a special sort. Gabriele Schwab would call it a transitional text, although of a consummate kind. What difference do such classifications make to the understanding of Pynchon's novel? This is one question. What difference does Pynchon's novel, in turn, make to some understanding of the sophisticated theoretical vocabulary used by both critics? This is another question. Each of these books variously demonstrates how difficult it is to keep the two questions apart, which is probably just as it should be.