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Pynchon Is Not a Narratologist.

Pynchon Notes 2008, Spring-Fall, 54-55

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Narratologies of Gravity's Rainbow, by Samuli Hagg. Joensuu: U of Joensuu Pub., 2005. 205 pp. 20 Eur. Narratologies of Gravity's Rainbow provides a sophisticated but ultimately unsatisfying confrontation of Pynchon's most interesting novel with various aspects of classical and postclassical narrative theory. Sophisticated--because Samuli Hagg is a very astute narratologist who is on top of the latest developments in the field and has a knack for expounding them; unsatisfying--because narrative theory as Hagg insists on testing it out is simply no match for the often bewildering splendor of Pynchon's masterpiece. If only Hagg had been more of a Pynchon reader than a narratologist. He is avowedly out to "examine ways in which Pynchon's fiction challenges the concepts of narratological theory by abusing and extending the narrative conventions underlying them" (10), and so he approaches Gravity's Rainbow with a desire for theory and totalization the novel itself likes to dare, not least through its thematization of paranoia. Hagg is aware of this, but in my view he still works himself into a corner by letting Pynchon's novel perform a challenge to narratology that can easily be accomplished with a lesser text. This is not to suggest that Hagg does not have anything interesting to say about Gravity's Rainbow. But when he does, it is when his engagement with the concepts of narrative theory takes a backseat.

Pynchon Is Not a Narratologist.
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  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
  • Published: 22 March 2008
  • Publisher: Pynchon Notes
  • Print Length: 11 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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