Reading: No Mean Accomplishment

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No Mean Accomplishment

Author:

John L. Simons

The Colorado College
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Abstract

Christian Allusions in the Novels of Thomas Pynchon is a useful addition to Peter Lang's series American University Studies. Professor Price, noting both the American college student's staggering ignorance of the Bible and the widening popularity of Pynchon's fiction in college literature classes, has constructed a well-organized guide to the Christian allusions which occur throughout Pynchon's work, concentrating on those in his first sustained fiction, V. (Nearly four-fifths of Price's book is devoted to V.; a coda of about twenty pages is given over to Gravity's Rainbow; The Crying of Lot 49 is conspicuously omitted.) In addition to detailing Christian references in V., Price attempts to relate those references to what she calls, after the film-editing theories of Sergei Eisenstein, Pynchon's "giant montage of the ailing twentieth century." In this latter respect she offers little that is new to Pynchon scholars. By her own admission her primary function is to annotate, to elucidate and connect the vast network of Christian allusions in V. Thus Price's book is at its best when providing information which enables the reader to make more learned judgments about the significance of the multiple patterns of Christian references in V. and Gravity's Rainbow. This is not to say that Price avoids interpreting the allusions she has skillfully uncovered, only that her interpretations are rarely as illuminating as the scholarly biblical findings she makes available to the reader. This is no mean accomplishment, especially with a book like V., the central symbol of which is the Lady V. herself, an appallingly mechanized, inanimate re-imagination in a Godless, materialistic age of the traditional symbol of maternity, love and order represented by the biblical figure of Mary, the virgin mother of Christ.
How to Cite: Simons, J.L., (1989). No Mean Accomplishment. Pynchon Notes. (24-25), pp.133–134. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/pn.303
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Published on 22 Sep 1989.
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