Reading: Pynchon's Hereros: A Textual and Bibliographical Note

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Pynchon's Hereros: A Textual and Bibliographical Note

Author:

Steven Weisenburger

Abstract

The Hereros of South West Africa are central participants in Thomas Pynchon1s work, as one armature around which he has spun fictions. Their history and anthropology, however, are also the most eccentric, obscure points of reference in Gravity's Rainbow. We do have one bit of second-hand evidence about Pynchon's Herero sources. In a recent essay, Joseph Slade paraphrased a 1968 letter Pynchon wrote to Boston University graduate student Thomas F. Hirsch, whose doctoral work focused on the Hereros. In his letter Pynchon evidently claimed to be "obsessed" with them, and also mentioned texts he had been consulting. But what those source-texts are (beyond some previously identified Herero lexicons), and where their presence can be traced in Gravity's Rainbow are questions for which we still have only Incomplete or inconcise answers.
How to Cite: Weisenburger, S., (1985). Pynchon's Hereros: A Textual and Bibliographical Note. Pynchon Notes. (16), pp.37–45. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/pn.376
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Published on 20 Mar 1985.
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