Reading: Realizing Gravity's Fantasy

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Realizing Gravity's Fantasy

Author:

Beverly Lyon Clark

Wheaton College
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Abstract

In the nineteenth century, fantasy could be relegated to children's books, and within these books to places like Wonderland, enclosed by and subordinate to Reality. But with the increasing relativism and subjectivism of the twentieth century, fantasy has entered the mainstream, in works by Joyce, Kafka, Borges, Nabokov: if there can be no truly objective account of reality, if all accounts are subjective, then dreamland and invented worlds necessarily inform our versions of reality. Thomas Pynchon is one of these fantasy-realists whose work is shaped by such a conviction. And Gravity's Rainbow in particular describes a land where fantasy increasingly interpenetrates reality. The novel moves from a relatively discrete and discreet indulgence in fantasy, like Lord Blatherard Osmo's fantasy of the Giant Adenoid, to the realm of the postwar Zone, where fantasy has broken the constraints of logic and flowers everywhere, indistinguishable from so-called reality.
How to Cite: Clark, B.L., (1985). Realizing Gravity's Fantasy. Pynchon Notes. (17), pp.15–34. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/pn.363
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Published on 22 Sep 1985.
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