Reading: Pynchon, Foucault, Power, and Strategies of Resistance


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Pynchon, Foucault, Power, and Strategies of Resistance


Will McConnell

McMaster University
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Despite diverse critical appreciations and interpretations of Pynchon's work, Pynchon scholars have not addressed sufficiently the relation between Thomas Pynchon and Michel Foucault. Critics have explored the mythological, Freudian and scientific elements of Pynchon's corpus to map the terrain of postmodernist affinities with and differences from modernism. Similarly, critics have investigated Pynchon's affinities with many poststructuralist writers (like Derrida and Lacan), but so far have not placed Pynchon's and Foucault's texts in a dialogic relation to explore the construction of postmodernism. This silence is inexplicable, since Pynchon and Foucault occupy definitive roles in a diversity of writings widely acknowledged to constitute a postmodernist sensibility. In addition, the two writers have explicit affinities in their choice and treatment of subject matter: both explore the composition of power and its relation to the formation and understanding of subjectivity, and both attempt to posit some means of redressing the course of history that results from the instrumentalization of human beings through the exercise of power.
How to Cite: McConnell, W., (1993). Pynchon, Foucault, Power, and Strategies of Resistance. Pynchon Notes. (32-33), pp.152–168. DOI:
Published on 22 Sep 1993.
Peer Reviewed


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