Reading: N Tropes for Entropy in Pynchon's Early Works

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N Tropes for Entropy in Pynchon's Early Works

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Dirk Vanderbeke

Greifswald University
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Abstract

When Pynchon republished all but one of his short stories in Slow Learner, he severely criticized most of his early texts. Among the stories which find no grace in the eyes of their author is "Entropy." The reason Pynchon gives for his "bleakness of heart" when he has to look at this story is that it was a mistake "to begin with a theme, symbol or other abstract unifying agent, and then try to force characters and events to conform to it" (12). He points out that he had read Henry Adams and Norbert Wiener, and that "the 'theme' of the story is mostly derivative of what these two men had to say" (13). The theme of the story is, of course, entropy, and in this essay I argue that Pynchon's perspective on the concept changed considerably after "Entropy" was published, and that this development has not yet been fully appreciated in Pynchon criticism.
How to Cite: Vanderbeke, D., (2001). N Tropes for Entropy in Pynchon's Early Works. Pynchon Notes. (46-49), pp.35–59. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/pn.89
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Published on 22 Sep 2001.
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