The publication of Thomas Pynchon’s novel Vineland in 1990, 17 years after his epochal Gravity’s Rainbow, received unprecedented attention from the media and tens of thousands of readers, all wondering why the novel was so long in the making and whether it would be as momentous as his last novel.
The Vineland Papers is the first book-length study of Pynchon’s problematic novel: a dozen leading Pynchon critics offer their takes on the book, examining it from a variety of angles: its relation to Pynchon’s previous work, its humor, its use of various technical fields, its use of history and film, its politics, its structure, and its autobiographical elements.
Feminist theory is brought to bear on Pynchon’s representation of women in the novel by several of the contributors, and all of them write in an accessible manner so that the book will appeal to the general reader as well as the scholar.
For many readers and scholars alike Pynchon is the single most important living novelist, and The Vineland Papers is invaluable for understanding how his fourth novel alters or confirms that reputation.
The contributors include David Cowart, N. Katherine Hayles, David Porush, Elaine B. Safer, Joseph Slade, Joseph Tabbi, Susan Strehle, Stacey Olster, Molly Hite, William E. Grim, Eric Solomon, Andrew Gordon, and Clifford Mead.