Reading: Essaying Pynchon' s Politics

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Essaying Pynchon' s Politics

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Douglas Keesey

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
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Abstract

This anthology prints twelve papers from a Pynchon conference held in London in June 1998. Taken together, the papers represent a turn toward the "more overtly political readings" that have characterized Pynchon criticism "[s]ince the early 1990s," a trend identified by John M. Krafft in the volume's Forward (10). Indeed, what these essays have in common is an emphasis on gender, race, class, sexuality and nation in Pynchon's works; hence the subtitle, Reading from the Margins, which calls attention to these critics' writings about Pynchon's writings about groups marginalized in white male heterosexual ruling-class America. The book is organized into two sections of six essays each, a fairly rough division between "the body" and "the body politic" as these are represented in Pynchon. The editor, Niran Abbas, has provided an Introduction with a capsule summary of each essay, which can help guide readers to the particular subjects of most interest to them. This is a smart and stimulating group of essays, and in what follows I will try to give some sense of the arguments they broached and the questions they provoked in me. I take it as one sign of a book's success that its ideas are intriguing enough to incite a response from the reader.
How to Cite: Keesey, D., (2002). Essaying Pynchon' s Politics. Pynchon Notes. (50-51), pp.166–173. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/pn.81
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Published on 22 Sep 2002.
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