Pynchon/Vonnegut (Books Acquired, 3.28.2012)


Saw these in my favorite used book shop and had to have them. Shabby copies of contemporary criticisms (i.e., old criticism) of Pynchon and Vonnegut. Love the covers.


11 thoughts on “Pynchon/Vonnegut (Books Acquired, 3.28.2012)”

  1. Pick up David Cowart’s ‘Thomas Pynchon: The Art of Allusion’ if you can. The only book of Pynchon criticism I’ve found even remotely insightful.


    1. I’ll keep an eye out for it. This one’s interesting because it’s contemporary with Gravity’s Rainbow. I mostly picked it up though because of the weird cover. And it was a dollar.


      1. Cowart’s book is, too, more or less. Think it was published in ’79 or ’80. He makes it a point to sort of ignore all the scientific stuff going on in Pynchon’s first three novels and focus on the literary, musical, cinematic and artistic allusions. The discovery which most interested me was that Pynchon probably saw, while he was in Mexico City in ’64, a painting by Remedios Varo called Invocacion. I’ll be shocked if he didn’t just extrapolate out of it The Crying of Lot 49. (A different Varo painting is mentioned at the end of the first chapter of TCoL49.) Check it out:

        Maybe that painting and its relationship to the novel is a widely known fact, but I’d never heard of it before. Cowart: ‘If the publicity-hating Pynchon does not own* this painting he ought to, for it is the very epitome of his novel, whose heroine also finds herself in contact with a host of shadowy figures through the agency of a posthorn.’

        *Cowart had written previously that Invocacion, at the time of his writing, was one of the only privately-owned Varo paintings (out of 94) whose owner did not want his identity revealed.


        1. I hadn’t seen the Varo painting; thanks for the link—can clearly see the idea of Oedipa and the symbol of the horn there. Sounds like a cool book. I’ll keep an eye out . . . although I really should put my efforts into a reading (non-failed!) of Mason & Dixon.


    1. I think you’re referring to the use of the apostrophe to separate the zero from the ess? It’s accepted usage in some style guides (not our beloved MLA, of course, which is what I try to use for the house style of Biblioklept).


        1. Well, I don’t think it’s good usage, to be clear—I know it’s accepted by neither Assoc. Press or MLA (which are often at odds about apostrophes) — but I know some publicity departments emphasize its use in design (as opposed to say, grammar). I wouldn’t feel foolish if I were you (I noticed it right away and inwardly groaned myself).


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