A Gravity's Rainbow Companion: Sources and Contexts for Pynchon's Novel / Edition 2

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Overview


Adding some 20 percent to the original content, this is a completely updated edition of Steven Weisenburger's indispensable guide to Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow. Weisenburger takes the reader page by page, often line by line, through the welter of historical references, scientific data, cultural fragments, anthropological research, jokes, and puns around which Pynchon wove his story. Weisenburger fully annotates Pynchon's use of languages ranging from Russian and Hebrew to such subdialects of English as 1940s street talk, drug lingo, and military slang as well as the more obscure terminology of black magic, Rosicrucianism, and Pavlovian psychology. The Companion also reveals the underlying organization of Gravity's Rainbow--how the book's myriad references form patterns of meaning and structure that have eluded both admirers and critics of the novel.

The Companion is keyed to the pages of the principal American editions of Gravity's Rainbow: Viking/Penguin (1973), Bantam (1974), and the special, repaginated Penguin paperback (2000) honoring the novel as one of twenty "Great Books of the Twentieth Century."

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Astute detective work . . . The Companion offers a wealth of information that makes it indispensable reading for Pynchon scholars. It is a remarkable achievement, representing untold hours of research into the flotsam and jetsam that constitutes the surface of Pynchon's preterite text.”--Pynchon Notes

"Pavlov, Grimm, Poisson's equation, I.G. Farben, the Kabbalah, the Tarot, the Hereros; science, history, myth, and popular culture: almost everything is here. For those not content to take Pynchon's references simply on faith, this is an absolutely invaluable work. It points up dramatically the paradox of creating so encyclopedic a work for an a-historical, a-literate work."--Journal of Modern Literature

“Weisenburger has exorcised the spectre of the loose baggy monster, the thesis that Gravity's Rainbow is a rambling and haphazard work. . . . A stunningly comprehensive and revelatory study that should be required reading for hard core fans, for the mushier core of people who have started the book but couldn't find anything to hold on to, and perhaps even for the anti-Pynchonites among us: for Them. It may be the means by which the most important novel of the second half of the century gains academic respectability.”--Modern Fiction Studies

"No serious reader of Pynchon's novel will want to read it without this volume's rare combination of criticism, annotation, and reference at hand.”--Choice

“A veritable guidebook to the novel, glossing countless references to popular culture, philosophy, science, etc. It also explains the novel's chronology section by section and for all these reasons will be essential reading on Pynchon.”--Year's Work in English Studies

“Weisenburger not only cares enough to follow Pynchon's narrative almost line by line through its massings of detail but convinces the reader of Pynchon's own care in assuring that everything from weather and moon phases to movies playing in London holds together, all so that Gravity's Rainbow can function as a chronometics when necessary.”--American Literary Scholarship

"An excellent guide to a terrifically complex work. If, like a palimpsest, Pynchon's work eludes us, Weisenburger's work provides us with a sub-text which fills in the crucial missing blanks."--Canadian Review of American Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820328072
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2006
  • Edition description: Second Edition, Revised, and Expanded
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 440
  • Sales rank: 329,827
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Meet the Author


Steven C. Weisenburger is Mossiker Chair in Humanities and chair of the English Department at Southern Methodist University. His books include Fables of Subversion: Satire and the American Novel, A Gravity's Rainbow Companion: Sources and Contexts for Pynchon's Novel (both Georgia) and Modern Medea.
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2007

    A reviewer

    Anyone who knows the works of Thomas Pynchon knows that they twist and turn like a rivers, sometimes breaking off into tributaries, flowing towards another source, a source that can not be found on any map but those of old Turkish Captains (see where I'm going with this). Anyway, the Gravity's Rainbow Companion does a great job in clearing up some of the big mysteries that one finds while trying to read GR. The episode summaries are essential to keeping track of what is going on. Without them, I would have been lost come episode 16. The Companion is just as fun to read as Pynchon's masterpiece. You'll learn something new with each turn of the page. Recommended for anyone who really wants to get the most of of Pynchon's epic.

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    Posted April 22, 2011

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