A Gravity's Rainbow Companion: Sources and Contexts for by Steven C. Weisenburger

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By Steven C. Weisenburger

Including a few 20 percentage to the unique content material, this can be a thoroughly up-to-date variation of Steven Weisenburger's fundamental advisor to Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow. Weisenburger takes the reader web page by way of web page, usually line by way of line, in the course of the welter of historic references, medical facts, cultural fragments, anthropological study, jokes, and puns round which Pynchon wove his tale. Weisenburger absolutely annotates Pynchon's use of languages starting from Russian and Hebrew to such subdialects of English as Nineteen Forties road speak, drug lingo, and army slang in addition to the extra vague terminology of black magic, Rosicrucianism, and Pavlovian psychology.

The Companion additionally finds the underlying association of Gravity's Rainbow--how the book's myriad references shape styles of which means and constitution that experience eluded either admirers and critics of the novel.

The Companion is keyed to the pages of the important American variants of Gravity's Rainbow: Viking/Penguin (1973), Bantam (1974), and the specific, repaginated Penguin paperback (2000) honoring the unconventional as certainly one of twenty "Great Books of the 20 th Century."

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Extra info for A Gravity's Rainbow Companion: Sources and Contexts for Pynchon's Novel (Revised 2nd Edition)

Example text

Marlowe says the process isn't his to sell, but shares it with the King as a friend. The King markets it wholesale and sells it throughout the camp until the secret leaks out and everyone makes his own. Thus the King's action raises spirits, creates a healthy sense of competition, and spreads around useful information that 38 James Clavell might otherwise have gone to waste. In other words, while he does not intend to be a benefactor, in effect, he is one. Clavell contrasts the frowns and long faces that follow Grey's progression through the camp with the smiles of those under the King's protection.

Paul Choy cannot be both an obedient Chinese son, who grovels before his illiterate father, and a Harvard-educated financial wizard. Seventeenth- and nineteenthcentury Japan and twentieth-century Iran can't choose Western technology and, at the same time, shut out the Western philosophical and scientific attitudes that produced that technology. This is the dilemma multiculturalists face, but Clavell's answer is that individual Easterners and Westerners must choose, that in the clash of cultures, ideas and lifestyles battle it out until one takes precedence over the other—for good or for bad.

Sir Samuel Baker explored the Nile's tributaries in Ethiopia, discovered Lake Albert Nyanza, and later became governor of the Lake Albert region, south of Ethiopia. Baker's antislavery stance might well have influenced Clavell's depiction of Dirk Struan's views on slavery, and Baker's purchase of his beloved wife in an Istanbul slave market is echoed in Struan's purchase of May-may. Speke was the first European to reach the source of the White Nile, Lake Victoria, and he and Burton were the first white men to view Lake Tanganyika.

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