Vineland's Place in the Pynchon Canon

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Vineland's Place in the Pynchon Canon

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1kswolff
aug 15, 2009, 12:33pm

Finished Vineland, which was great. I'm planning to write a critical appraisal of its place within the Pynchon oeuvre. I don't see it as a weak entry, but as a pivotal piece in understanding Pynchon.

Consider these three books:

*Crying of Lot 49 -- about the Sixties written in the Sixties.
*Vineland -- written in 1990 about the Reagan Eighties and the end of the Sixties Dream.
*Inherent Vice -- written in the 2000s about the Sixties.

I haven't read any of Late Pynchon: Mason & Dixon, Against the Day, and Inherent Vice So my analysis will focus on the early stuff I have read. It is interesting to note how the writer's latest book will re-contextualize every book he or she has written previously. After the labyrinthine genius of Gravity's Rainbow, Vineland does appear to be "weak beer."

Bolano and Pynchon appear similar in their creation of ramshackle, interconnected, ambitious works that reflect a strong authorial voice.

3beelzebubba
okt 5, 2009, 7:25pm

I'm currently reading Vineland. I tried reading it when it first came out, and totally bounced on it; just couldn't get into it, and never read Pynchon again. I'm not sure why, because now that I've decided to crack it open again, I find that I'm really enjoying it. Could be because I had just finished "Gravity's Rainbow," and was expecting something along those lines. My goal is to finish the remaining Pynchon books before year's end. Wish me luck! I look forward to reading your review after I finish it.

4kswolff
okt 7, 2009, 10:33pm

Best of luck with that endeavor. You'll either fry your brain or reach enlightenment.

I totally understand your issues with Vineland Anything after Gravity's Rainbow can be considered a let-down, then again GR is a turgid carnival of brilliance. "Vineland" is also one of Pynchon's most personal and political novels. You definitely know where he stands on things.

5absurdeist
Redigerat: jun 21, 2014, 6:38pm

The Vineland Papers: Critical Takes on Pynchon's Novel, put out by Dalkey Archive, looks like it could be a useful resource in digging deeper into the novel.

Here's one of the long essays collected in the book, "Smoking Dope with Thomas Pynchon: A Sixties Memoir" by Andrew Gordon.

6kswolff
sep 17, 2015, 11:31pm