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The Rebellion of the Coprophages (Eating of Feces) (Critical Essay)

Pynchon Notes 2000, Spring, 46-49

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Description

Pynchon's famously encyclopedic narratives are so heteroglossic that we should be surprised if they did not include a range of eating and drinking motifs. Pynchon's creative and puzzling onomastics illustrate the point: Meatball Mulligan, Slab, Bloody Chiclitz, Edwin Treacle, Brigadier Ernest Pudding, RC and Moonpie, Mr. Chew, Billy Barf and the Vomitoneso More to the purpose here are the descriptions of food, such as "a basket filled with cold eggplant parmigian' sandwiches" in The Crying of Lot 49, "a large Basket dedicated to Saccharomanic Appetites, piled to the Brim with fresh-fried Dough-Nuts roll'd in Sugar, glaz'd Chestnuts, Buns, Fritters, Crullers, Tarts" in Mason & Dixon, and Vineland's Bodhi Dharma pizza, whose crust has "the lightness and digestibility of a manhole cover," and Spinach Casserole made with "UBI, or Universal Binding Ingredient, cream of mushroom soup." The satiric possibilities are obvious. Food seems significant structurally, especially for openings. Lot 49 begins with Oedipa's critique of "a Tupperware party whose hostess had put perhaps too much kirsch in the fondue"; Vineland opens with Zoyd Wheeler's breakfast of Froot Loops topped with Nestle's Quik; and the second episode of Gravity's Rainbow includes Pirate Prentice's banana breakfast, with its "banana omelets, banana sandwiches, banana casseroles, mashed bananas [...] banana blancmange [...] banana waffles [...] banana mead ... banana croissants and banana kreplach, and banana oatmeal and banana jam and banana bread."

The Rebellion of the Coprophages (Eating of Feces) (Critical Essay)
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  • Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
  • Published: 22 March 2000
  • Publisher: Pynchon Notes
  • Print Length: 12 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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