Date of Graduation
Master of Arts in English (MA)
Sean A. Dempsey
Second Committee Member
Robert Brady Cochran II
Geocritical, Geocriticism, Postmodern, Pynchon, Spatial
A special emphasis on artificial or constructed spaces appears throughout Thomas Pynchon’s body of work. This thesis explores how Pynchon describes such spaces and their uses to address such weighty topics as social inequity and the struggle against authoritarianism. In examining the role of sheltering spaces in novels such as V. and Gravity’s Rainbow, I argue that Pynchon depicts various “outsider” characters as finding reification of their own forms of alterity within spaces either designed or co-opted with such purpose in mind. Through Pynchon’s depiction of spatial transformation in novels like Vineland and Inherent Vice, the author finds the opportunity to address ethical issues revolving around concepts of real estate and private property, such as gentrification. Even graphical depictions of space, such as the maps of Mason & Dixon or virtual reality program found in Bleeding Edge, present themselves as worthy figures of study in Pynchon’s work, as representations of space that seek to establish boundaries or delineated property play an integral role in the authoritarian forces that seek to oppress the downtrodden, or those whom society views as “the Other.” A geocritical reading of Thomas Pynchon’s work not only provides readers with a clearer understanding of the political thought guiding the author’s pen, but also provides his readers with a means of navigating his sometimesencyclopedic novels.
Stout, John, "Pynchon and Place: A Geocritical Reading of Thomas Pynchon" (2018). Theses and Dissertations. 2682.