Thomas Pynchon: Gravity's Rainbow

(4712 words)
  • Sascha Pöhlmann (Ludwig-Maximilians Universität Munchen)

“A screaming comes across the sky” (3). One of the most famous opening lines in literature might as well refer to the novel it sets off – Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon's masterpiece, marks an event in literary history whose significance readers have argued and will argue for a long time, but which nobody can afford to ignore. Published in 1973, it is often considered as the postmodern novel, redefining both postmodernism and the novel in general. It is also often considered to be unreadable; add “turgid”, “overwritten,” and “obscene” to that, and you get the verdict of the Pulitzer Prize advisory board in 1974. At the same time, however, all the judges unanimously voted for the novel to …

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Pöhlmann, Sascha. "Gravity's Rainbow". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 October 2006
[, accessed 30 September 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. Postmodernist American Fiction
  2. World War 2 Literature