Reading: "But Who, They?": Pynchon's Political Allegory


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"But Who, They?": Pynchon's Political Allegory


Eyal Amiran

North Carolina State University
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While many books on Pynchon appeal to conceptual paradigms to make their points, The Postmodernist Allegories of Thomas Pynchon depends on organizing principles to govern it. This, Deborah Madsen says, is among her reasons for using the context of the allegorical tradition–that it provides a stable set of terms with which to investigate Pynchon's postmodernism (2). The book formulates an intelligent argument that is largely coherent and unflagging in language and focus. It succeeds in articulating what is sure to become a standard interpretation of Pynchon's work. But having raised such large topics as postmodernism, allegory, and narrative, and having engaged to discuss all of Pynchon's fiction, the book chews more than it can digest in 134 pages. It may be that all ambitious books fail to some extent in this way, and must gesture towards topics beyond their reach; Madsen's book courts this charge because it ignores a few relevant theoretical and literary contexts (while unfurling to some length the banner of theoretical/contextual engagement), and because it generalizes where it should work more with the text.
How to Cite: Amiran, E., (1990). "But Who, They?": Pynchon's Political Allegory. Pynchon Notes. (26-27), pp.167–172. DOI:
Published on 22 Sep 1990.
Peer Reviewed


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