Reading: From V. to Vineland: Pynchon's Utopian Moments


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From V. to Vineland: Pynchon's Utopian Moments


Eva C. Karpinski

York University
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Critics have only just begun to retrieve the elements of utopian thinking in Pynchon, following the publication of Vineland (1990). Pynchon's most explicitly political text so far, Vineland has prompted politicization of his earlier work against the tradition of mostly formalist Pynchon criticism. Tracing a trajectory from V. (1 963) to Vineland, from his first to his latest novel, I would like to suggest that one possible point of entry into the political in Pynchon is through his utopianism, broadly understood as "social dreaming" (Sargent 3). The movement from V. to Vineland corresponds to Pynchon's critique and rejection of what I call the utopia of modernity, and his subsequent embracing of a different utopianism that may offer correctives to the dystopian, postmodern world portrayed in Vineland. This reading also reflects the postmodernist ambivalence toward utopia as both a negative and a positive sign.
How to Cite: Karpinski, E.C., (1993). From V. to Vineland: Pynchon's Utopian Moments. Pynchon Notes. (32-33), pp.33–43. DOI:
Published on 22 Sep 1993.
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