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Encountering the Other at Home: Representations of Dora in Pynchon and Mirbach.

Pynchon Notes 2008, Spring-Fall, 54-55

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One of the many obscure passages in part 4 of Gravity's Rainbow mentions an unnamed "spokesman for the Counterforce" who confesses "in an interview with the Wall Street Journal" (738) how he "tasted [his] first blood" (739) in a complex tunnel system. In his attempt to explain this reference, Terry Reilly has identified the interviewee as speaking from the perspective of a sixteenth-century Catholic soldier engaged in the bloody liberation of the city of Munster from the Anabaptist occupation (Reilly 723). Reilly's detailed analysis dismisses, however, various more contemporary clues in the passage, such as the railway lines running through the tunnels and, of course, the Wall Street Journal; likewise, he does not elaborate on the allusions to Christianity or to the final assembly of Rocket 00001. Taking a cue from precisely these latter hints, one may equally well assume that the blood-drinking spokesman is a member of the Schwarzkommando. Toward the end of his statement, the spokesman extemporizes: While the description of black blood-drinkers or man-eaters ties in with well-known racial stereotypes held in the West, the subway-tunnel setting seems to displace the act of cannibalism from the African homeland (where the stereotype insists on situating it) to what one imagines is the West. At the same time, the tunnels are reminiscent of the Mittelwerke, where V-2 production began in late 1943, which fact leads to the following question: do the crimes committed in the neighboring concentration camp, Dora, connect in any way with the practice of cannibalism mentioned by the spokesman?

Encountering the Other at Home: Representations of Dora in Pynchon and Mirbach.
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  • Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
  • Published: 22 March 2008
  • Publisher: Pynchon Notes
  • Print Length: 23 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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