Reading: Gravity's Rainbow as Metaphoric Narrative: Film, Fairy Tale and Fantasy in Pynchon's Germany

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Gravity's Rainbow as Metaphoric Narrative: Film, Fairy Tale and Fantasy in Pynchon's Germany

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Victoria de Zwaan

Trent University
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Abstract

Since the publication of Gravity's Rainbow (hereafter GR) in 1973, critics have debated the overall message or unitary meaning (the doctrine, if you will) of the narrative, many attempting, especially very early on, to isolate one particular motivation or worldview as the dominant one. Since the early 1980s, however, a near consensus has emerged that GR is polyphonic: that is, that the many voices or paradigms in the narrative cannot be reduced to, or even subordinated by, one voice or ideology. One of the consequences of this consensus is a tendency in current Pynchon studies to treat the novel as what Edward Mendelson has termed an "encyclopedic narrative," or as what Charles Clerc calls "a liberal education" (19), a repository of knowledge, albeit in code, open to elucidation and clarification. While Mendelson's and Clerc's terms are not universally espoused by other Pynchon critics, the sheer range and depth of reference in GR make the hunting down and explication of details a natural, even a necessary and welcome activity.
How to Cite: Zwaan, V. de ., (2008). Gravity's Rainbow as Metaphoric Narrative: Film, Fairy Tale and Fantasy in Pynchon's Germany. Pynchon Notes. (54-55), pp.154–168. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/pn.33
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Published on 22 Sep 2008.
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