A Gravity's Rainbow Companion: Sources and Contexts for by Steven C. Weisenburger

By Steven C. Weisenburger

Including a few 20 percentage to the unique content material, it is a thoroughly up to date variation of Steven Weisenburger's integral consultant to Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow. Weisenburger takes the reader web page by way of web page, frequently line via line, throughout the welter of old references, clinical info, cultural fragments, anthropological study, jokes, and puns round which Pynchon wove his tale. Weisenburger absolutely annotates Pynchon's use of languages starting from Russian and Hebrew to such subdialects of English as Forties road speak, drug lingo, and armed forces slang in addition to the extra vague terminology of black magic, Rosicrucianism, and Pavlovian psychology.

The Companion additionally finds the underlying association of Gravity's Rainbow--how the book's myriad references shape styles of which means and constitution that experience eluded either admirers and critics of the novel.

The Companion is keyed to the pages of the critical American variants of Gravity's Rainbow: Viking/Penguin (1973), Bantam (1974), and the precise, repaginated Penguin paperback (2000) honoring the radical as considered one of twenty "Great Books of the 20th Century."

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Extra info for A Gravity's Rainbow Companion: Sources and Contexts for Pynchon's Novel (Revised 2nd Edition)

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From 1854 (when it was put back up after having been dismantled in 1851) until 1936, when it was razed by fire, the structure stood—a symbol of Victorian progress—in London’s Hyde Park. Two of its towers survived the fire but were dismantled in 1940 to prevent German bomber crews from using them as landmarks. 14 second sheep In the terms of Calvinist theology, second sheep are preterite, those predestined for abandonment at the moment of Christ’s apocalyptic return, in contrast to the elect who are predestined for redemption.

Is it Pointsman or Mexico? Or, if Roger Mexico is her “Siegfried,” loving her as he does during the midnight hours, then is it their fate either to live happily together or (somehow) to drown? 34 achieved perfect tripos At Cambridge University the tripos are any of the examinations for a baccalaureate degree; a perfect score constitutes the highest academic achievement. 18 “Automatic texts” That is, produced by “automatic writing”; unpremeditated, free-association composition produced with the least, or the least conscious, effort (see below), perhaps deriving from the writer’s “unconscious” mind and therefore, perhaps, linked to spiritual domains and beings.

Recall Zipf’s Principle of Least Effort . . a sort of bow shape” The reference is not to George Kingsley Zipf ’s 1949 book, Human Behavior and the Principle of Least Effort. Instead, the text for this complex, arresting reference is his 1935 study, The Psycho-Biology of Language. Zipf was a professor of philology and linguistics at Harvard during the time of Slothrop’s fictional attendance there. In the 1935 book he approached language as “a natural psychological and biological phenomenon to be investigated in the spirit of the ex- 39 act sciences” (v).

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