Wednesday, May 29, 2019
PARADISE FLUBBED: Pynchon & the New World Essay -- essays papers
PARADISE FLUBBED Pynchon & the New World When, in Gravitys Rainbow, A screaming comes across the sky, it is the sound of a V-2 rocket arcing up and over the face Channel.But the rockets vapor trail (which Pirate Prentice sees from kneedeep in the primordial mulch of his bananararium) points further on over the Atlantic, on toward the States, the New World, Tyrone Slothrops yearned-for, perhaps illusory home. The rockets lane ends a fraction of an inch above the readers head, the rocket suspended, poised ... A tableau representing the possibile if not quite realized Apocalypse.In his first novel, V., Pynchon explored the death-worshipping mania, the will-to-the-inorganic hubris, the sheer Gotterdamerng gaga-ness of a Dying Europe.And the final scene from Gravitys Rainbow seems to (almost) complete that arc, to represent Europes death rattle a last gasp (and grasp)--as if the Old World, having given birth to the New, now wished to present that Other in a last suicidal embrace. Dont bother, says Vineland.Well do it ourselves, eventually.Not by introducing some new evil into this New Eden, but simply by retro-fitting America with the same brutal mannerisms, the same authoritarian conceits, the same mania for Tidying Up that destroyed Europe--all of these urges which Pynchon sees as (in Fredric Jamesons terms) necessary preconditions for the rise to imperialist hegemony and colonialist cruelty, and the inevitable descent into fascistic insanity. The whiteness of decay that looms over V. is for Pynchon inextricably connected with Americas Puritanical beginnings, both genealogical and esthetic.The Crying of Lot 49 ends, in fact, with what Edward Mendelson calls a penultimate pentecostal moment the bo... ...nd thus it might be suggested that capital A fiction challenges rather than satisfies, disappoints (that word implying how much of our thinking is shaped by our lifelong desire to trip out gravitys wagging finger) rather than reassures.The minimalist Triumvira te rules beneath a banner stolen from Holiday InnNo Surprises.While what we read with greater effort offers, we sense, greater reward.To push beyond, further, aside to scolder through the jungle despite the fact that the pathway is perfectly clear, asphalted, guard-railed, signposted, edge-trimmed, icon-d, OSHA-inspected, patrolled, mapped, sanitized .... Pynchons fiction lives, and occasionally (all too seldom) communicates from Out There, out in the jungle, out where the outdistance between Sign and Signifier is a gap wide enough to break your neck, should you leap into it.Out on the Frontier, still, always.