Thomas Pynchon

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Pynchon, Thomas

(pĭn`chən), 1937–, American novelist, b. Glen Cove, N.Y., grad. Cornell, 1958. Pynchon is noted for his amazingly fertile imagination, his wild sense of humor, and the teeming complexity of his novels. He is sometimes grouped with authors of black humorblack humor,
in literature, drama, and film, grotesque or morbid humor used to express the absurdity, insensitivity, paradox, and cruelty of the modern world. Ordinary characters or situations are usually exaggerated far beyond the limits of normal satire or irony.
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 (such as Kurt VonnegutVonnegut, Kurt, Jr.
1922–2007, American novelist, b. Indianapolis. After serving in World War II, he worked as a police reporter and wrote short stories for mainstream and science-fiction magazines, work the contributed to the development of the distinctive voice and wry
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 and Joseph HellerHeller, Joseph,
1923–99, American writer, b. Brooklyn, N.Y. Heller is best known for his first novel, Catch-22 (1961). Set in World War II, it is a darkly humorous commentary on the illogic of war and bureaucracy.
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), who turned from realism to fantasy to depict 20th-century (and, in Pynchon's case, 21st-century) American life. His early novels include V. (1963) and The Crying of Lot 49 (1966). His masterpiece is the complex and often obscure Gravity's Rainbow (1973, National Book Award), which displays his diverse erudition. Set in London during World War II, it is a discursive rumination on war and death. In 1984, he published a collection of early writings, Slow Learner. His later novels are Vineland (1990), the witty and encyclopedic Mason & Dixon (1997), the sprawling Against the Day (2006), the psychedelic 1970s sleuth tale Inherent Vice (2009), and the wild, 21st-century New York investigative saga Bleeding Edge (2013).


See studies by T. Tanner (1982), P. L. Cooper (1983), D. Seed (1988), S. C. Weisenburger (1988), J. Dugdale (1990), A. McHoul and D. Wills (1990), J. W. Slade (1990), J. Chambers (1992), H. Berressem (1993), A. W. Brownlie (2000), A. Mangen and R. Gaasland, ed. (2002), N. Abbas, ed. (2003), H. Bloom, ed. (2003), and D. Cowart (1980 and 2012); I. H. Dalsgaard et al., ed., The Cambridge Companion to Thomas Pynchon (2012).

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Pynchon, Thomas (Ruggles, Jr.)

(1937–  ) writer; born in Glen Cove, N.Y. He studied at Cornell (B.A. 1958), lived in Greenwich Village for a year, and worked on the house publication of Boeing Aircraft (Seattle, Wash.). He moved to Mexico while finishing his first novel, V. (1963), and later settled in California. An intensely private writer, he refused to be interviewed or photographed. He is best known for his novel, Gravity's Rainbow (1973), an ingenious examination of language and an attempt to organize the ideas and systems of modern life. A collection of short stories, Slow Learner (1984), has also been published.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
Wildly unstructured in form, they offer Wanda's take on pop culture (she's a big fan of Cagney and Lacey), the literary scene (she claims William Gaddis and Thomas Pynchon are the same person), journalism (she campaigns for Anderson to win a Pulitzer Prize), politics local and national (she has a fondness for the old New Left and attacks all ideologies of control), and all other subjects great and small.
There's Kathy Acker, Stephen Wright, Derek Pell, Susan Daitch, Lance Olsen, William Vollmann, Thomas Pynchon, Eurudice, and even (gulp!) myself, and that's just a small sample.
Fitzpatrick (English and media studies, Pomona College) doesn't think so, but she finds the repeated pronouncements of the death throes of the book issuing to be interesting and seeks to analyze the purposes of this "anxiety of obsolescence" in the hands of novelists such as Don Delillo, Thomas Pynchon, and Jonathan Franzen.
The appendix contains the 1984 essay "Is It Okay to Be a Luddite?" by novelist Thomas Pynchon.
In comparison with Thomas Pynchon, his one novelistic peer, Gaddis has received relatively little critical attention.
Susan Eilenberg ruminates on Coleridge, Hilary Mantel searches for Robespierre, Jenny Turner takes on Thomas Pynchon and James Meek examines maggots.
Birkerts provides a measure of reassurance in "Keepers of the Flame," where he demonstrates how Robert Stone, Thomas Pynchon, and Don DeLillo are living up to the tasks of the serious fiction writer despite the cultural impediments that stand in their way.
Pieces look at the works of Joan Didion, Lana Del Rey, and Thomas Pynchon, among others.
Besides steampunk Wilson (the Clockwork Man), there's Karl Mondaugen (reminiscent of Thomas Pynchon's Kurt Mondaugen), the Queen, Primella Limpet (anime + mollusks?), Dutch tourist Van der Graaf (a la physicist Robert J.
The main body of Metahistorical Narratives and Scientific Metafictions consists of ten essays, one of them written by Episcopo himself, with Thomas Pynchon's fiction occupying a prominent place in several chapters, for obvious thematic and stylistic reasons.
When they discovered alienation, they looked to Thomas Pynchon more than Karl Marx, John Lennon more than V.
My favorite musicians are Joan Baez and Patti Smith; my favorite author is Thomas Pynchon; my gym is Vida Fitness at 15th and P Streets, NW; and my favorite recent film is Melancholia by Lars von Trier.