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

By Steven C. Weisenburger

Including a few 20 percentage to the unique content material, it is a thoroughly up-to-date version of Steven Weisenburger's fundamental advisor to Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow. Weisenburger takes the reader web page by way of web page, frequently line by means of line, during the welter of historic references, medical information, cultural fragments, anthropological learn, 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 Forties highway speak, drug lingo, and army slang in addition to the extra vague terminology of black magic, Rosicrucianism, and Pavlovian psychology. The Companion additionally unearths the underlying association of Gravity's Rainbow--how the book's myriad references shape styles of that means and constitution that experience eluded either admirers and critics of the novel.
The Companion is keyed to the pages of the valuable American versions of Gravity's Rainbow: Viking/Penguin (1973), Bantam (1974), and the unique, repaginated Penguin paperback (2000) honoring the unconventional as one in every of twenty "Great Books of the 20th Century."

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P. 28 Such holes in the narrative are, in my view, however, not simply reducible to a matter of poor narrative technique. While the conceal- In the Cathedral of Libertinage 49 ment of certain details early on undoubtedly serves the work’s graded structure, one is forced to ask why Sade chose this structure in the first place. In Chapter 6, I will suggest that the tension between concealing and revealing which such a structure generates has unconscious motivations related to the Sadean quest for transcendence.

237–38) The victims sit on steps below the throne and within easy reach of the four libertines in their respective recesses. On either side of the throne stands a column to which victims can be attached and on which hang instruments of ‘correction’ and torture. Closets lead off from each recess, providing the individual libertine with a space for activities which he would rather conduct in private. The principal space of the novel is, nevertheless, both public and theatrical. The amphitheatre is designed so that the libertines can see and hear everything that occurs in every corner, in the other recesses as much as in the throne area; debauchery here is above all a shared activity, in which to be seen is as important as to see.

16 Despite such exotic features, however, there is nothing Gothic about the Sadean château, real or imaginary. Silling is a completely functional location, with no frightening dark spaces or gratuitous luxuries, where everything is designed for the protection and subsistence of the resident libertines and the satisfaction of their perverse sexual desires. 17 There are separate dormitories and closets for each of the different classes of resident according to a scrupulous set of rules (see below), and a main hall designed in the semicircular shape of an amphitheatre to facilitate the narration of stories and the communal orgiastic activities that these stories are intended to promote: Il était d’une forme demi-circulaire, dans la partie cintrée se trouvaient quatre niches de glaces fort vastes et ornées chacune d’une excellente ottomane; ces quatre niches par leur construction faisaient absolument face au diamètre qui coupait le cercle, un trône élevé de quatre pieds était adossé au mur formant le diamètre, il était pour l’historienne […] elle se trouvait alors placée comme est l’acteur sur un théâtre, et les auditeurs placés dans les niches se trouvaient l’être comme on l’est à l’amphithéâtre.

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