Reading: Playing Soccer in Left Field


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Playing Soccer in Left Field


Michael W. Vella

Indiana University of Pennsylvania
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One of the unfortunate but perhaps significant tendencies in Pynchon criticism is for explication to replicate the writer's sense of a reality dense with multiple meanings that are often contradictory and almost always elusive. Pynchon criticism too often reads with nearly the same labyrinthine complexity as his texts, and what might have aided in exegesis ends in confusion. This tendency is unfortunate because Pynchon has his detractors, and critics who succumb to this tendency do not do much to counter them. In fact, criticism that too much mimics Pynchon's world may contribute to his reputation, in the view of some, as something of a cult writer, adding fuel to the anti-Pynchon fires. This same tendency is significant, however, because if critics often replicate his polysemous worlds, then it is symptomatic of how these critics share with Pynchon the postmodernist loss of epistemological boundaries. Such a loss is one of Pynchon's major themes, and he would not be exploring it if it were not a general condition of our times, characterizing critics as much as physicists, philosophers, and the man in the street.
How to Cite: Vella, M.W., (1988). Playing Soccer in Left Field. Pynchon Notes. (22-23), pp.133–136. DOI:
Published on 22 Sep 1988.
Peer Reviewed


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