Reading: Of Models, Muddles, and Middles: Menippean Satire and Pynchon's V.

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Of Models, Muddles, and Middles: Menippean Satire and Pynchon's V.

Author:

Theodore D. Kharpertian

Hudson County, Community College
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Abstract

That V., The Crying of Lot 49, and Gravity's Rainbow contain satire, few-sensible Pynchon critics deny; that these fictions are satires, few dare to assert, for to do so would require the development of a useful methodological model of a genre whose theoretical and practical slipperiness is a matter of historical fact and critical embarrassment. Worse yet, to propose that Pynchon's texts are satires might also entail the corollary that Pynchon is a satirist, an uncomfortably singular and tropological assertion about this writer. For Pynchon has created such polymorphous fictions that a unitary generic identification would seem to be an exercise in Procrustean folly; furthermore, these fictions are too narratively unstable to justify the critical claim of moral superiority conventionally associated with satire. (Since the genre's inception, the satirist has been viewed as speaking from a privileged moral position.) Yet Pynchon's fictions are indeed satires--Menippean satires--and Pynchon is therefore, first and foremost, a satirist.
How to Cite: Kharpertian, T.D., (1985). Of Models, Muddles, and Middles: Menippean Satire and Pynchon's V.. Pynchon Notes. (17), pp.3–14. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/pn.362
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Published on 22 Sep 1985.
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