Gravity's Rainbow is a novel by American writer Thomas Pynchon. Lengthy, complex, and Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version. A Gravity's rainbow companion. Bibliography: p. Includes index. 1. Pynchon, Thomas. Gravity's rainbow. I. Title PSY55G \54 ISBN. Winner of the National Book Award, GRAVITY'S RAINBOW is a postmodern epic, a work as exhaustively significant to the second half of the twentieth.
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Beyond the Zero Nature does not know extinction; all it knows is transformation. Everything science has taught me, and c. Gravity's Rainbow. Home · Gravity's Rainbow Author: Pynchon Thomas Rainbow · Read more · Rainbow Six. Read more · Rainbow six · Read more. NY Times | ronaldweinland.info 11 March New York Times Review. Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon. One of the.
You do not have permission to edit this page, for the following reason: The action you have requested is limited to users in the group: Users. Besides using the Alphabetical Index and the page-by-page annotation, you can also take a look at [[Gravity's Rainbow covers ''Gravity's Rainbow'' covers]], read the [[Gravity's Rainbow Reviews reviews]], or [[Gravity's Rainbow Title entertain some theories on the source of the title]]. Read his bio, as well a pictures of Marc, his wife, and some of his watercolors from the s. The first is the '''''Gravity's Rainbow'' Alphabetical Index''', used to keep track of the myriad characters, real and imagined, as well as events, arcana, and lots of other stuff. The second is the '''Spoiler-Free Annotations by Page''', which allows the reader to look up and contribute allusions and references while reading the book, in a convenient and spoiler-free manner.
Miller is almost exclusively concerned with the theme of declension in the seventeenth-century jeremiad, the long and intensifying lament over the failure of the Puritans to achieve the New Jemsalem.
He describes the dif- ferent forms of the jeremiad and their appeal to different generations of Puritans. For the first generation, the jeremiad consisted of "a recital of afflictions" followed by a "prescription" which maintained a "scrupulous distinction between physical afflictions.
A second, less optimistic generation of Puritans saw sin as an affliction, not a cause. Much of that popularity is due to the fact that lhis contemporary jeremiad takes into accot unacknowledged anxieties, temptations and fears which are priarily rnllccliPe in nature.
Despile structural differences, GR re- mains, like the second form of the jeremiad, a form for "conceiving the in- conceivable. Pynchon views the jeremiad-narrative as a form that has the capacity to deal with the condition of apocalyptic dread In the contemporary world, which is a place in which violence is no longer linked to the human will, but rather to a set of technocratic systems that have gained ascen- dancy and autonomy.
He knows that even our collective responses to fear tend to be technocratic, to involve both science and bureaucracy; to counter a general dread, we tend to generate precisely the kind of structure which feeds our fears. Pynchon's adaptation of the jeremiad uses the vocabularies of scientific and bureaucratic organiza- tions, but these remain embedded in a larger fiction which envisions its central task as the Puritan authors of the jeremiad saw theirs: to bespeak doubts and apprehensions about the American dream, to question the fraying but still powerful sentiment that America-and the technology of Western culture-have u favored place and mission ln hlstory.
On Olle level and 1'. Bcrcovitch drawing on a passage from 1'. The various disasters and setbacks which occurred on lhis mundane temporal level, however, were always coordinated and syuchronized with a second level of perfected time, the "chronometric. He borrows the term from an American sociologist who studied religious groups that prophesied apocalypse and, when it did not arrive, restored the prophecy by recalculation rather than abandoning It.
Starting with this, Kermode goes on to claim that the need for consonance Is psychological and fundamen- tal, and fictions about ends-like the Biblical Revelations-are ways of maintaining our sense of our lives as potentially meaningful, even when they seem overwhelmed by the prnvisional and the contingent: To maintain the experience of organization we Within this organization that which was conceived of as simply successive becomes charged with past and future: what was chronos becomes kairos.
Both patterns contrnst the provisional with the predetermined, lhe imperfect moments of daily life and historical time with privileged on1tmtsespecially endings which pro- mise to trunscend the merely temporal. It is a terminological accident that Kermude's chro1ws is comparable to the horological dimension of Bercovitch, and not to his chronometrical.
Pynchon does suggest that the Puritan obsession with some other-worldly chronometric dimension as the locus of perfection has constituted a fatal denial of the hero-and-now. Further- more, he asserts that the German and by extension, Western obsession with rocketry is a catastrophic secular attempt at transcending our earth- bound condition.
By using this analogy, Pynchon locates at the root of our own century's malaise the ruthlessly expansive European energies that brought the Puritans and the death of the Indian to America, and then gave the death-dealing, space-traveling V-2 Rocket and its descendants to the West.
These are large themes, sharing one common thl'ead: the rejection of the horological dimension of history whose evils are seen, paradoxically, as being the result of a cruelly energetic and ceaseless attempt to tran- scend the hornlogical, to achieve an ideal chronometric dimension. Jdla and its whole fleet,. There can be no doubt as to Pynchon's judgment of these events. Europe, powered by the dream of transcending earthly limits and the horological dimension itself, has wreaked havoc on the rest of the world, and, incidentally, on its own citizens, since the seventeenth century: "Christian Europe was always death, Karl, death and repression" p.
Despite the general applicability of the term "Christian Europe," it virtually never means Catholic Europe in CH; rather, it almost always refers to Protestant Europe and its expansion since the seventeenth century.
Rejection of the horological does not suffice, either in the jeremiads de. In the grim world which CH creates with such scrupulous care, the kind of hope embodied in any alternative can only be tentative. GR Is a fiercely polemical but honest narrative, which is to say that it presents with full force the powerful horological reality which it will at- tempt to deny, qualify, or at least bypass.
History is no mere straw-figure here; it is irreversible and one-directional. Those who submit to it by ac- cepting its end-oriented momentum develop a particular kind of self, as Mondaugcn, a V-2 engineer and icy cynic, suggests when he states his horological view of human pel'sona-lity: personal density. But the narrower your sense of Now, the more tenuous you are.
Around it Pynchon weaves his sense of the chronometric as it is or can be possible for contemporary man. What is at stake In CH is nothing less than the qucf;tion of what hope is possible, and where, in a world where the alternatives seem to be the crushing weight of history or the corrupt- ing attempts to achieve transcendence by clinging to a belief in a post- Apocalyptic time or to a transglobal "elsewhere," a place to which the Hockct and its accompanying technology will take us.
Pynchon's massive work erodes the possibilities offered by history, Puritan religion or tech- nological achievement, hut as these are undercut, the idea of what we shall call the "chronometric Now" is offered as a fragile possibility that is ever-recurring and usually ignored.
Like most alternatives and solutions offered in literature, this one is elusive. Its beginnings are to be found in V. There, V.
The record of the past, which was a succes- sion of such moments of choice, is distorted. Official history offers us, in both V. Pynchon seeks to return us to those possibilities by eliminating the "normal" tension in most openly moralizing fiction, between what is and what ought to be, and replaces it with the double tension between what is and might have been, on the one hand, and what is and can be, on the other.
Inevitably, this burdens his fiction with the dominant moods of loss and fear, since he continues to see the imminent apocalypse of a rocket-borne atomic dawn as the likeliest conclusion of the horological predicament. Given this vision, Pynchon hesitates as he returns us to his alter- native, the chronometric Now that is pregnant with possibility; yet it has been a persistent hesitation, one that began to manifest itself in V.
There, Rachel goes to visit the plastic surgeon Schoenmaker who is about to Marcus Smith and Khachig Tololyan opcruto on her friend Esther.
For Hachel, such an operation represents false hope and false possibility. Rachel and the narrator consider time and reverse-time, world and mirror-world the young Pynchon tends to borrow authority from the discourse of physics , and conclude that the plastic surgeon's waiting- room is appropriately equipped with mirror and clock: Were there many such reference points, scattered through the world, perhaps only at nodes like this room which housed a transient population of the dissatisfied; did real time plus vir- tual or mirror-time equal zero and thus serve some half understood moral purpose?
Or was it Like his fictional chaructcr, Pynchon is not simply "puritanical"; he does not so much reject the pleasure Esther may derive from her changed ap- pearance as he rages at the fact that such "change" comes to be perceived us the only possible and effective wuy of shaping one's life.
Later, Esther deals with a pregnancy by resorting to the "reversal" that abortion can provide. Again, Rachel's anger-and Pynchon's-is directed not at the choice of abortion, but at the choice which Esther earlier refuses to make: passive about sex and birth-control, she becomes pregnant. Responsibility she leaves to the plastic surgeon who has become her lover, and who does not care about her pregnancy either, since there are medical techniques for dealing with it.
This whole set of episodes is perhaps chosen naively and with an eye to the main chance for a criticism of society, but the young Pynchon hammers at the point which is directly relevant to CH: there are "nodes" in time and space in which technology offers the possibility of a freedom that is false because it makes us all the more dependent on itself. Analogically, we are seduced by our visions of a total and predetermined historical design into yielding our control of the separate moments of life.
All this inevitably sounds rather grandiose in the critic's paraphrase. Indeed, he has been so suc- cessful in masking the rhetoric of hope that most criticism has failed to see the maddeningly complex structure of CH as a working out of the prom- ises and betrayals of nodal points as they occur within a pre-apocalyptic horological history. No other modern author, to our knowledge, has created a work so thoroughly infused with this sense of recurring but fragile possibility, made more poignant by the fact that it is all enclosed in a narrative shaped by the darker vision of the jeremiad.
The fate of Tyrone Slothrop is at one level an illustration of such possibility. Near the end of CH, one of Pynchon's several nameless nar- rators evokes "the story of Tyrone Slothrop, who was sent into the Zone lo be present at his own assembly-perhaps, heavily paranoid voices have whispered, lits time'.
The sentence creates an analo1n- between the making of a self and of history- in-the-making, "time's assembly"; what motivates such an assertion is Pynchon's desire to force us to think unalogieally, to insist that no matter how powerful and impersonal the forces that shape history muy be, our only participation in that shaping will come in the form of personal choices made at the "nodes," at the forking of the "V ," at the instances the horological offers us, and which Instances we can transform into the "chronometric Now" by perceiving them as offering rich possibilities.
Slothrop's failure, as Pynchon makes quite clear, lies in part in his refusal of the moment.
His name is Capt. He is wrapped in a thick blanket, a tartan of orange, rust, and scarlet. His skull feels made of metal. How awful. How bloody awful. The Special Operations Executive has trained him to fast responses. Bloat, plummeting, hits square amidships with a great strum of bedsprings. One of the legs collapses. Pirate, driven to despair by the wartime banana shortage, decided to build a glass hothouse on the roof, and persuade a friend who flew the Rio-to-Ascension-to-Fort-Lamy run to pinch him a sapling banana tree or two, in exchange for a German camera, should Pirate happen across one on his next mission by parachute.
Pirate has become famous for his Banana Breakfast. Pirate in the lavatory stands pissing, without a thought in his head. Then he threads himself into a wool robe he wears inside out so as to keep his cigarette pocket hidden, not that this works too well, and circling the warm bodies of friends makes his way to French windows, slides outside into the cold, groans as it hits the fillings in his teeth, climbs a spiral ladder ringing to the roof garden and stands for a bit, watching the river.
The sun is still below the horizon. The day feels like rain, but for now the air is uncommonly clear. His giant bananas cluster, radiant yellow, humid green. His companions below dream drooling of a Banana Breakfast.
This well-scrubbed day ought to be no worse than any— Will it? Far to the east, down in the pink sky, something has just sparked, very brightly. A new star, nothing less noticeable. He leans on the parapet to watch. The brilliant point has already become a short vertical white line. It must be somewhere out over the North Sea. What is it? Nothing like this ever happens. But Pirate knows it, after all. He has seen it in a film, just in the last fortnight. But not from an airplane.
Airplanes are not launched vertically. This is the new, and still Most Secret, German rocket bomb. He tightens the ragged belt of his robe. Well, the range of these things is supposed to be over miles. The white line, abruptly, has stopped its climb. The bottom of the line, the original star, has already begun to vanish in red daybreak. But the rocket will be here before Pirate sees the sun rise.
The trail, smudged, slightly torn in two or three directions, hangs in the sky. Already the rocket, gone pure ballistic, has risen higher.
But invisible now. Less than five minutes Hague to here the time it takes to walk down to the teashop on the corner. Run out in the street? Warn the others? Pick bananas. He trudges through black compost in to the hothouse. The missile, sixty miles high, must be coming up on the peak of its trajectory by now. Trusswork is pierced by daylight, milky panes beam beneficently down. How could there be a winter—even this one—gray enough to age this iron that can sing in the wind, or cloud these windows that open into another season, however falsely preserved?
Pirate looks at his watch. Nothing registers. The pores of his face are prickling. Emptying his mind—a Commando trick—he steps into the wet heat of his bananery, sets about picking the ripest and the best, holding up the skirt of his robe to drop them in.
Allowing himself to count only bananas, moving barelegged among the pendulous bunches, among these yellow chandeliers, this tropical twilight.
Out into the winter again. The contrail is gone entirely from the sky. He takes some time lighting a cigarette. It travels faster than the speed of sound. The first news you get of it is the blast. Pirate hunches his shoulders, bearing his bananas down the corkscrew ladder. Routine: plug in American blending machine won from Yank last summer, some poker game, table stakes, B. Chop several bananas into pieces. Make coffee in urn.
Get can of milk from cooler. I would coat all the booze-corroded stomachs of England. Bit of marge, still smells all right, melt in skillet. Peel more bananas, slice lengthwise. Marge sizzling, in go long slices. Light oven whoomp blow us all up someday oh, ha, ha, yes.
Peeled whole bananas to go on broiler grill soon as it heats. Find marshmallows. Guess what I saw from the roof. About ten minutes ago. It must have fallen short. Out to sea or something. Pirate goes to the phone and rings up Stanmore after all.
God has plucked it for him, out of its airless sky, like a steel banana. Yes, we saw it. He rings off. There will indeed be others, each just as likely to land on top of him. No one either side of the front knows exactly how many more. Will we have to stop watching the sky?
Coffee brews. Is there any reason not to open every window, and let the kind scent blanket all Chelsea? As a spell, against falling objects. All my mail arrives by post. Incoming mail, indeed. A hundred miles of it, so suddenly. Solitude, even among the meshes of this war, can when it wishes so take him by the blind gut and touch, as now, possessively. The morning seems togrow colder the higher the sun rises.
Clouds begin to gather after all. Colder than a bucket of penguin shit! Colder than the frost on a champagne glass! They try to kill me. Transylvanian Magyars, they know spells. It is a gift the Firm has found uncommonly useful: at this time mentally healthy leaders and other historical figures are indispensable. What better way to cup and bleed them of excess anxiety than to get someone to take over the running of their exhausting little daydreams for them.
He will then actually skip to and fro, with his knees high and twirling a walking stick with W. He had known for a while that certain episodes he dreamed could not be his own. But then came the day when he met, for the first time, the real owner of a dream he, Pirate, had had: it was by a drinking fountain in a park, a very long, neat row of benches, a feeling of sea just over a landscaped rim of small cypresses, gray crushed stone on the walks looking soft to sleep on as the brim of a fedora, and here comes this buttonless and drooling derelict, the one you are afraid of ever meeting, to pause and watch two Girl Guides trying to adjust the water pressure of the fountain.
They bent over, unaware, the saucy darlings, of the fatal strips of white cotton knickers thus displayed, the undercurves of baby-fat little buttocks a blow to the Genital Brain, however pixilated. Girl Guides start pumping water. In he had his first episode outside any condition of known sleep—it was during his Kipling Period, beastly Fuzzy-Wuzzies far as eye could see, dracunculiasis and Oriental sore rampant among the troops, no beer for a month, wireless being jammed by other Powers who would be masters of these horrid blacks, God knows why, and all folklore broken down, no Gary Grant larking in and out slipping elephant medicine in the punchbowls out here.
There to stumble into an orgy held by a Messiah no one has quite recognized yet, and to know, as your eyes meet, that you are his John the Baptist, his Nathan of Gaza, that it is you who must convince him of his Godhead, proclaim him to others, love him both profanely and in the Name of what he is.
There is at least one Loaf in every outfit, it is Loaf who keeps forgetting that those of the Moslem faith are not keen on having snaps taken of them in the street. Into the dossier it goes, and eventually the Firm, in Their tireless search for negotiable skills, will summon him under Whitehall, to observe him in his trances across the blue baize fields and the terrible paper gaming, his eyes rolled back into his head reading old, glyptic old graffiti on his own sockets.
The first few times nothing clicked. The fantasies were O. But the Firm is patient, committed to the Long Run as They are. At last, one proper Sherlock Holmes London evening, the unmistakable smell of gas came to Pirate from a dark street lamp, and out of the fog ahead materialized a giant, organlike form. Carefully, black-shod step by step, Pirate approached the thing. It began to slide forward to meet him, over the cobblestones slow as a snail, leaving behind some slime brightness of street-wake that could not have been from fog.
In the space between them was a crossover point, which Pirate, being a bit faster, reached first. He reeled back, in horror, back past the point—but such recognitions are not reversible. It was a giant Adenoid. At least as big as St. London, perhaps all England, was in mortal peril! Chorus line of quite nubile young women naughtily attired in Busbies and jackboots dance around for a bit here while in another quarter Lord Blatherard Osmo proceeds to get assimilated by his own growing Adenoid, some horrible transformation of cell plasma it is quite beyond Edwardian medicine to explain.
Teams come down from the Cavendish Laboratory, to string the Heath with huge magnets, electric-arc terminals, black iron control panels mil of gauges and cranks, the Army shows up in full battle gear with bombs full of the latest deadly gas—the Adenoid is blasted, electric-shocked, poisoned, changes color and shape here and there, yellow fat-nodes appear high over the trees.
The situation is now stable, the Adenoid occupies all of St. Novi Pazar, anyhow, was still a croix mystique on the palm of Europe, and EO. The Firm knew just the man. James Adenoid. It nearly drove him crazy. As the two of them snuffled back and forth, alienists in black seven-button suits, admirers of Dr.
Freud the Adenoid clearly had no use for, stood on stepladders up against its loathsome grayish flank shoveling the new wonderdrug cocaine—bringing hods full of the white substance, in relays, up the ladders to smear on the throbbing gland-creature, and into the germ toxins bubbling nastily inside its crypts, with no visible effects at all though who knows how that Adenoid felt, eh?
Some unfinished footage is included in Bramkamp's film.
The film Impolex by Alex Ross Perry is loosely inspired by Gravity's Rainbow , the title referring to the fictional polymer Imipolex G used to condition Slothrop in the novel. The lyrics were written by me as an imitation of Thomas Pynchon's parodies in his book Gravity's Rainbow.
He had parodied limericks and poems of kind of all-American, obsessive, cult of personality ideas like Horatio Alger and 'You're 1, there's nobody else like you' kind of poems that were very funny and very clever.
The novel inspired the song "Gravity's Angel" by Laurie Anderson. In her autobiographical performance The End of the Moon , Anderson said she once contacted Pynchon asking permission to adapt Gravity's Rainbow as an opera. Pynchon replied that he would allow her to do so only if the opera was written for a single instrument: Anderson said she took that as a polite "no.
The use of the texts was cleared with Pynchon's agent. American progressive rock group Coheed and Cambria 's song "Gravity's Union", from their science fiction concept album The Afterman: Descension , is named in honor of the novel. Canadian experimental rock group Rei dos Leitoes's song "Silent on the Island" incorporates themes from Gravity's Rainbow in its second and fourth Verse passages.
David Lowery of the American alternative rock group Camper Van Beethoven 's cites Gravity's Rainbow as an inspiration for the song "All her favorite fruit". The piece includes palm trees, shoes, stuffed toys, a lemon meringue pie, Richard Nixon, Sigmund Freud , an iron toad wired to an electric battery, a dominatrix , and other images from the novel.
The series had a successful reception at New York's Whitney Biennial event, and was described "as a tour de force of sketching and concept" Abbe From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Gravity's Rainbow disambiguation. Dewey Decimal. This article does not cite any sources. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.
Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. January Learn how and when to remove this template message. Novels portal. National Book Foundation. Retrieved The New York Times. Retrieved April 20, Pulitzer Controversies". Worlds Without End. October 16, Almansi's comment is from Gravity's Rainbow was translated and published in Italy in The literary precursors of this design The Confidence Man.
A Gravity's Rainbow Companion: Sources and Contexts for Pynchon's Novel. University of Georgia Press. Retrieved July 12, Un Perm au Casino Hermann Goering", pp. Un Perm au Casino Hermann Goering", p. In The Zone", p. The Art of Thomas Pynchon. The New Yorker 49, 19 May , pp. The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 October , accessed 17 March Silicon Valley Radio.
The Modern Word. Archived from the original on Zak Smith: Works by Thomas Pynchon. Slow Learner Inherent Vice National Book Award for Fiction — Complete list — — — Orpheus and Eurydice. Eurydice Orpheus. Sir Orfeo c.