Reading: Coincidental and Contrived Dates in Gravity's Rainbow

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Coincidental and Contrived Dates in Gravity's Rainbow

Author:

William E. McCarron

USAF Academy
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Abstract

Gravity's Rainbow gives some prominence to the year of Pynchon's birth, 1937. Pokler reminisces about the building of "Pennemunde in 1937" (Viking, 404), and a 11137 Ford" is mentioned three times (644-45). We may recall that V. was published in 1963, The Crying of Lot 49 in 1900, and Gravity's Rainbow in-1973; the separation between first and second novels is three years, between second and third novels seven years. Pynchon is equally adept with his birth year's obverse, the number 73. It marks the publication year as well as the number of "chapters" (or fi1m clips) in Gravity's Rainbow. Pynchon's birthday, May 8, also comes in for coincidental play. For example, V-E Day, marking the surrender of Germany, was May 8, 1945, Pynchon's eighth birthday. In addition, Pynchon's birthday is the birthday "of that President Truman" (382), whom Slothrop hopes to catch a glimpse of at Potsdam.
How to Cite: McCarron, W.E., (1985). Coincidental and Contrived Dates in Gravity's Rainbow. Pynchon Notes. (17), pp.84–85. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/pn.370
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Published on 22 Sep 1985.
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