Pynchon and Philosophy: Wittgenstein, Foucault and Adorno, by Martin Eve
Palgrave MacMillan, 232 pages, ISBN13: 978-1137405494
Thomas Pynchon, the most important living American author, is famed for his lengthy, complex and erudite fictions. Given these characteristics, an examination of the philosophical dimensions of Pynchon's works is long overdue. In Pynchon and Philosophy, Martin Paul Eve comprehensively and clearly redresses this balance, mapping Pynchon's interactions with the philosophy, ethics and politics of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Michel Foucault and Theodor W. Adorno, resulting in a fresh approach to these seminal novels. Pynchon and Philosophy is based on the notion that Pynchon's brand of postmodern literature mocks theoretical frameworks. On these grounds, Pynchon has been accused of being an anti-rationalist, a postmodern nihilist figure who revels in the collapse of logic. In this book Eve shows that a fruitful showdown between these philosophical figures and Pynchon is now urgently needed to unearth the latent ethics within Pynchon's novels and to counter these wild claims.
Appreciation by David Cowart
"Martin Paul Eve's Pynchon and Philosophy is a work of consummate scholarship. Breaking new ground in Pynchon studies, Eve offers an immensely erudite, detailed and in-depth account of the ways in which the ideas of Wittgenstein, Foucault and Adorno help us to think about his texts. A first-rate book."
Gravity's Rainbow, Domination, and Freedom
Herman, Luc and Steven Weisenburger. Gravity's Rainbow, Domination, and Freedom. University of Georgia Press: Athens, Georgia (2013). ISBN: 978-0-8203-3508 (256 pages).
Herman and Weisenburger bring immense erudition to their altogether fresh study of the work they rightly characterize as a ‘towering achievement.’ Gravity’s Rainbow, Domination, and Freedom is a terrific contribution not only to Pynchon studies but also to our understanding of the cultural matrix within which this author—still America’s most important and vital novelist—invented himself and his extraordinary fictions.”
David Cowart, author of Thomas Pynchon and the Dark Passages of History
“Herman and Weisenburger rehistoricize and recontextualize Gravity’s Rainbow. They synthesize literary criticism, narratology, psychology, cultural history, and political analysis to produce this unprecedentedly deep and detailed understanding of the place of Pynchon’s novel in—its status and role as a document of—its time and ours. The genius of the book is that it gives us not only a vivid sense of that past but also a new and newly urgent sense of our present and possible future.
John M. Krafft, Miami University
Bleeding Edge, the first review, by David Kipen
Kipen, David. "Review of Bleeding Edge." Publishers' Weekly, August, 19, 2013. Online Review.
[...] The plot's dizzying profusion of murder suspects plays like something out of early Raymond Chandler, under whose bright star Bleeding Edge unmistakably unreels. Shoals of red herrings keep swimming by, many of them never seen again. Still, reading Pynchon for plot is like reading Austen for sex. Each page has a little more of it than the one before, but you never quite get to the clincher.
Luckily, Pynchon and Austen have ample recourse to the oldest, hardest-to-invoke rule in the book --when in doubt, be a genius. It's cheating, but it works. No one, but no one, rivals Pynchon's range of language, his elasticity of syntax, his signature mix of dirty jokes, dread and shining decency. [...]