Heidi's Years of Learning and Travel: Late-Pynchon's Academics
Eve, Martin Paul (2015) Heidi's Years of Learning and Travel: Late-Pynchon's Academics. In: International Pynchon Week, 8-12 June 2015, Athens, Greece. (Unpublished)
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Towards the end of Thomas Pynchon's most recent novel, Bleeding Edge , the reader is introduced to the academic research of Heidi, a character who is working on an article for the “Journal of Memespace Cartography” (334-5). Clearly supposed to be humorous, the passage ridicules the academic debates over irony and sincerity that have raged in recent years as a result of David Foster Wallace's well-known essay, “E Unibus Pluram”, a piece that itself targets Pynchon. Despite its parodic nature, however, this passage is symptomatic of a broader trend in Pynchon's later writing: direct engagement with and representation of academic communities. Indeed, Bleeding Edge parodies Lacan throughout (2, 245) and mocks the academic who uses the terms “post-postmodern” and “neo-Brechtian subversion of the diegesis” (9). Likewise, Pynchon's preceding novel, Inherent Vice , connected the supposedly innocent academics working on the ARPAnet to the sinister histories of the ICBM traced in his earlier work, Gravity's Rainbow . This paper, focusing primarily upon Inherent Vice and Bleeding Edge, will examine the ways in which Pynchon's later novels attempt to interpellate their academic readers through various forms of parody. Arguing that this is, in some ways, a continuation of a strategy that Pynchon has deployed since his earliest work (as noted by Mark McGurl in his seminal book, The Program Era), this paper will conclude that the author's later uses of this technique are more overtly didactic and political than in his early novels and more explicitly connected to specific moments of American catastrophe.
|Item Type:||Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)|
|School:||Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Arts > English and Humanities|
|Research Centre:||Contemporary Literature, Centre for|
|Depositing User:||Martin Paul Eve|
|Date Deposited:||08 Nov 2015 16:21|
|Last Modified:||13 Jan 2017 12:30|
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