The Multiple Worlds of Pynchon's Mason & Dixon : Eighteenth-Century Contexts, Postmodern Observations
Edited by College at Brockport faculty member and former English Department chair: Elizabeth Jane Wall Hinds.
When Thomas Pynchon's novel Mason & Dixon was published in 1997, it marked a deep shift in Pynchon's career and in American letters in general. Mason & Dixon moved beyond postmodernism to re-create an 18th century when "America" was being formed as both the place and the idea we have come to know. Pynchon's focus on the creation of the Mason-Dixon Line and the governmental and scientific entities responsible for it makes a clearer statement than any of his previous novels about the slavery and imperialism at the heart of the Enlightenment, and Mason & Dixon levels a dark and hilarious critique at this "America."
This volume of new essays studies the interface between 18th- and 20th-century culture both in Pynchon's novel and in the historical past. It offers fresh thinking about Pynchon's work not only because it deals with his most recent novel, but also because the contributors take up the linkages between the 18th and 20th centuries in studies that are as concerned with culture as with the literary text itself.
The scope of the volume is indicated by its four sections: "Time and the Rounds of History," about historiography and narrative temporality; "Consumption Then and Now," which deals with slavery, trade, and consumption; "Space and Power," which confronts the connections between "place" and imperial power in the 18th century; and "Enlightenment Microhistories," which studies in detail three specific 18th-century cultural incidents.
Rochester, NY : Camden House, 2005.
viii, 222 p. ; 24 cm.
Series: Studies in American literature and culture
English Language and Literature
Hinds, Elizabeth Jane Wall, "The Multiple Worlds of Pynchon's Mason & Dixon : Eighteenth-Century Contexts, Postmodern Observations" (2005). Brockport Bookshelf. 132.