Reading: Gravity's Rainbow's Golden Sections


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Gravity's Rainbow's Golden Sections


Alec McHoul

Murdoch University
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Elsewhere, I have tried to argue that quotations, like statistics, can easily be extracted to muster evidence for whatever "coherence," "logic," or "position" their manipulator wants to find anyway. A possible counter-position to this is explored in this paper. I try to show how a critical reading of a fictional work can be constructed from passages which have been selected not on the basis of their support for a particular preconstructed argument but on random, or at least thematically unmotivated grounds. At the risk of self-defeat, to cite Gravity's Rainbow itself now: the "debate" between Mexico and Pointsman (89–91), assuming we side with the former, the text's own clear favourite, would support a probabilistic reading over one founded on cause (predetermined theme) and effect (quoted passage). Another reason for selecting textual samples first (rather than selecting them later to support a pre-given reading) is that it avoids what is rapidly becoming, in the case of Gravity's Rainbow at least, a "canon" of Pynchon quotables.
How to Cite: McHoul, A., 1987. Gravity's Rainbow's Golden Sections. Pynchon Notes, (20-21), pp.31–38. DOI:
Published on 22 Sep 1987.
Peer Reviewed


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