Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

Sascha Pöhlmann (Ludwig-Maximilians Universität Munchen)
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“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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Citation: Pöhlmann, Sascha. "Gravity's Rainbow". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 October 2006 [, accessed 20 March 2023.]

4900 Gravity's Rainbow 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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