Olivier_Pynchon06 - r e q u e n t l y d i g r e s s i v e ,...

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F r e q u e n t l y d i g r e s s i v e , t h e n o v e l s u b v e r t s m a n y o f t h e t r a d i t i o n a l e l e m e n t s o f p l o t a n d c h a r a c t e r d e v e l o p m e n t , traverses detailed, specialist knowledge drawn from a wide range of disciplines, and has earned a reputation as a “difficult” b o o k . I n 1 9 7 4 , t h e t h r e e - m e m b e r Pulitzer Prize jury on fiction supported G r a v i t y ’s R a i n b o w f o r t h e P u l i t z e r P r i z e f o r F i c t i o n . H o w e v e r , t h e o t h e r e l e v e n m e m b e r s o f t h e b o a r d o v e r t u r n e d t h i s d e c i s i o n , b r a n d i n g t h e b o o k “ u n r e a d a b l e , t u r g i d , overwritten, and obscene.” The novel w a s n o m i n a te d f o r t h e 1 97 3 N e b u l a A w a r d f o r B e s t N o v e l , a n d w o n t h e N a t i o n a l B o o k Aw a r d i n 1 974 . S i n c e i t s p u b l i c a t i o n , G r a v i t y ’s Rainbow has spawned an enormous a m o u n t o f l i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m a n d c o m m e n t a r y , i n c l u d i n g t w o r e a d e r ’ s g u i d e s a n d s e v e r a l o n l i n e c o n c o r d a n c e s , a n d i s w i d e l y r e g a r d e d a s P y n c h o n ’ s m a g n u m o p u s . G r a v i t y ’ s R a i n b o w i s composed of four parts, each o f t h e s e c o m p r i s e d o f a n u m b e r o f e p i s o d e s w h o s e d i v i s i o n s a r e m a r ke d by a g r a p h i c a l d e p i c t i o n of a series of squares. It has been s u g g e s t e d t h a t t h e s e r e p r e s e n t s p r o c k e t h o l e s a s i n a r e e l o f film, although they may also bear s o m e r e l a t i o n t o t h e e n g i n e e r ’s g r a p h p a p e r o n w h i c h t h e f i r s t d r a f t o f t h e n ove l w a s w r i t te n . [ 1 ] O n e o f t h e b o o k ’s e d i t o r s has been quoted as saying that the squares relate to censored correspondence sent between soldiers and their loved ones during the war. When f a m i l y a n d f r i e n d s r e c e i v e d e d i t e d letters, t h e removed s e c t i o n s w o u l d b e c u t o u t i n s q u a r e d o r r e c t a n g u l a r s e c t i o n s . T h e s q u a r e s t h a t s t a r t e a c h o f t h e f o u r p a r t s w o u l d t h e r e f o r e b e i n d i c a t i v e o f w h a t i s n o t w r i t t e n , o r w h a t i s r e m o v e d b y a n e x t e r n a l e d i t o r o r c e n s o r. [ 2 ] T h e n u m b e r o f e p i s o d e s in each part carries with it a n u m e r o l o g i c a l s i g n i f i c a n c e which is in keeping with the use of numerology and Tarot s y m b o l i s m t h r o u g h o u t t h e novel.[3] T h e p l o t o f t h e n o v e l i s c o m p l e x , c o n t a i n i n g o v e r 4 0 0 c h a r a c t e r s a n d i n v o l v i n g m a n y d i f f e r e n t t h r e a d s o f narrative which intersect and w e a v e a r o u n d o n e a n o t h e r. [ 1 1 ] T h e r e c u r r i n g t h e m e s
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This note was uploaded on 04/15/2011 for the course FS 131 taught by Professor Geiger during the Spring '11 term at The Art Institute of California - San Francisco.

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Olivier_Pynchon06 - r e q u e n t l y d i g r e s s i v e ,...

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