Thomas Pynchon (b.1937)

  1. Christopher MacGowan

Published Online: 24 FEB 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781444393675.ch32

The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook

The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook

How to Cite

MacGowan, C. (2011) Thomas Pynchon (b.1937), in The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444393675.ch32

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 24 FEB 2012
  2. Published Print: 21 JAN 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405160230

Online ISBN: 9781444393675



  • Thomas Pynchon (b.1937), preferring not to involve himself directly - with publicity and marketing of his books;
  • Pynchon, publishing stories in leading literary reviews - years just before and just after graduation;
  • “Entropy,” Pynchon claiming - he knew very little about entropy, and that he still does not fully understand it;
  • relationship of order to chaos - a central one in Pynchon's fiction, with questions about who imposes the order;
  • Pynchon, working for the Boeing Company in Seattle - as a technical writer, contributed to presence of the Yoyodyne Corporation in his first two novels;
  • act of reading and interpretation - a major issue, in all of Pynchon's subsequent fiction;
  • Pynchon, married his literary agent, Melanie Jackson - dedicating his next book, Mason&Dixon (1997), to her and to their son Jackson;
  • Pynchon's important novel, Gravity's Rainbow, often cited - but Mason & Dixon, having its supporters, arguing for Against the Day;
  • The Crying of Lot 49, generally considered too short to be in the running;
  • Pynchon, one America's major novelists


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Bibliography