Thomas Pynchon (Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI Studies))

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9780820410319: Thomas Pynchon (Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI Studies))

This pioneering work, first published in 1974, is still regarded as the best introduction to the fiction of America's premier novelist. Six chapters explore the themes of Pynchon's short fiction, V., The Crying of Lot 49, and Gravity's Rainbow, while a section added especially for this edition extends the assessment of the author's stature and impact on modern literature. The book is particularly helpful to those readers interested in Pynchon's encyclopedic approach to writing, since Slade clearly identifies the cultural, technological, and scientific elements woven into the novels.

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Review:

«No act of academic publishing could be more timely (or personally more pleasing to me) than the reissuing of Joseph Slade's landmark 1974 study, 'Thomas Pynchon'. For one, a whole generation of scholars will be reminded that Slade opened up and tamed the wild territory of Pynchon decipherment where we now reside so comfortably and which we take for granted. For another, the book still offers rich and unmined insights into the sources of Pynchon's imagery and the complex relationship between his fiction and science. I have returned over and over again to Slade's magnificent accumulation of connections to get my bearings, as I know many others have. The new reader will be rewarded by a daring work whose value remains undimished.» (David Porush, author, The Soft Machine: Cybernetic Fiction)
«Slade is one of the few critics who understand Pynchon's physics well enough to introduce it to students with quantific clarity (as opposed to deconstructive distraction). ...Slade's book remains a lucid guide to the intricacies of Pynchon's fiction. Slade's relation of the short works to the three novels clarifies much of Pynchon's creativity. His summary explanations ... contribute to an appreciation of the erudition which Pynchon subjectifies in his seriocomically expressed concern with the technological reduction of the animate toward the inanimate. Slade's great talent is a conciseness in disclosing the bedrock of Pynchon's fiction, namely, 20th-century physics as the glorious Logos of modern technological ingloriousness. ... Unlike the latter-day critics who ungrammatically obfuscate Pynchon by trying to outdo him in complexity, Joseph W. Slade limits his explication of Pynchon's artistry to competently clear exegesis.» (Roy Arthur Swanson, Science-Fiction Studies)
«'Thomas Pynchon' probably is, literally, the basis of Pynchon criticism.» (Joe Sanders, SFRA Review)
«Joseph W. Slade's 1974 monograph on Pynchon was a truly pioneering work. In those halcyon days before Pynchon Criticism Inc. was formed he had no earlier works to argue against or assimilate. Accordingly 'Thomas Pynchon' had a freshness, a lack of anxiety about its subject which still makes it an attractive read almost twenty years later. Slade's capacity to identify productive motifs in the fiction is still valuable and his analysis of 'Gravity's Rainbow' within a year of its publication was nothing short of remarkable.» (David Seed, Bete Noire)

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Joseph W. Slade
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