About Me

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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019); AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021); and HOW WE BECAME POST-LIBERAL: THE RISE AND FALL OF TOLERATION (2024).

Monday, January 17, 2011

Currently reading: Against the Day by Thomas Pynchon

This book is a lot of fun. Currently, it's mainly a revenge narrative set in the Wild West, but there are other strands as well. I think, though, that someone needs to tell me what I'm supposed to get out of it, as I'll be talking about Pynchon at a gig in Melbourne in just a couple of weeks.

(In defence of my apparent hubris, remember that my original PhD thesis was largely about Pynchon, but that was a good few books ago, back in the 80s.)


BenSix said...

It occurs to me that our authorial recluses - Pynchon is a good example; Salinger, perhaps, another - might one day be subject to the kind of theories that William Shakespeare is today. Who really penned Gravity's Rainbow? Was it "JD Salinger" who wrote The Catcher in the Rye or was it, say, a young Jack Kerouac. Interestingly such rumours have already circulated: people used to claim Truman Capote wrote To Kill a Mockingbird.

carl said...

One of my faves. What an unexpected treat, esp for such an old man. :)
I had about wrtten TP off and was very pleased to find that 'ATD' is, imo, his best work, certainly his tightest-plotted.
Interesting that it came out in 2006, same year as David Lynch's 'Inland Empire', with which it shares a'bardo' quality.
Transitons, where , when and how they occur, being a major theme in both works. Also common to both is the use of parody to indicate when the 'world shift' occurs; try calculating the page number on which these happen in ATD using the'Q' method, hammered home repeatedly in the text, like a skeleton key to the novel as the 'Tibetan Book of the Dead' is to Lynch's film.
Best Of Fortune,