Although he has carefully avoided scrutiny from the public over his career that has spanned six decades, Thomas Pynchon emerged on the Literary Scene in America in 1959 with the publishing his first short story "Small Rain" in The Cornell Writer. However, the native of Glen Clove, Long Island, New York would gain renown as a novelist four years after graduating from Cornell with his debut novel "V." Nominated for a National Book Award and receiving The William Faulkner Foundation Award for the best debut novel, Pynchon is perhaps currently, and best remembered for "Gravity's Rainbow" -- a book dubbed by critics and scholars as the 'Great American Novel' -- exclusive praise it shares with the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" and Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."
Dubbed as a mathematician of prose for his calculating, but risky utilization of linguistics and diction, Pynchon's examination of racism and imperialism, coupled with his seamless ability to blend high culture -- philosophical, sociological, and theological ideas -- with low culture -- comic books, pulp fiction, popular films, conspiracy theories, and paranoia -- have allowed to become one of the most influential icons in the literary postmodernism movement along with his colleague, the much revered Don DeLillo. Without further ado, here are five of the most incisive lines delivered by the American Literature's greatest arithmetic mastermind:
1. "They're in love. Fuck the war."
Even when the world seems like it's coming apart at every crevice, and every seam, there is something lasting and enduring that holds us together. So we can endure. So we can last. Longer than what has lasted and endured.
2. "Life's single lesson: that there is more accident to it than a man can ever admit to in a lifetime and stay sane."
Life is mad because it's random, and random because it's mad.
3. "Paranoids are not paranoid because they're paranoid, but because they keep putting themselves, fucking idiots, deliberately into paranoid situations."
Actions predicated on fear lead to a predicament where fear will inform more of the actions taken.
4. " "I came," she said, "hoping you could talk me out of fantasy."Cherish it!" cried Hilarious, fiercely. "What else do any of you have? Hold it tightly by it's little tentacle, don't ket the Freudians coax it away or the pharmacists poison it out of you. Whatever it is, hold it dear, for when you lose it you go over by that much to the others. You begin to cease to be." "
Our dreams. Our madness. How we become mad because we dream is what instills a sense of meaning within us. What it means to be something. Or someone. Even if that someone is mocked for being a dreamer, or ostracized for being mad.
5. "If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers."
Some questions aren't meant to be answered because they were never designed to be when asked.
Although Thomas Pynchon continues to drive the public conscious mad with his infallible elusiveness to preserve an anchoret lifestyle, his books continue to fill the shelves of libraries and bookstores -- to help make sense of the insanity he has not only left behind but exposed. In America, and ourselves. Not so we might abandon reason, but to discover why it was the reason we chose to abandon. Abandoned because it was we who abandoned. Relinquished ourselves so there might be a "we". Not realizing that we can only be when we chose to be ourselves. In America, and around the world.
- Thomas Pynchon – The Crying of Lot 49 Chapter 1 | Genius ›
- “V.” at L: Pynchon's First Novel Turns Fifty | The New Yorker ›
- 'Gravity's Rainbow,' Read by George Guidall - The New York Times ›
- Absent friends: I want to be alone | The Independent ›
- Thomas Pynchon and the Myth of the Reclusive Author - VICE ›
- Thomas Pynchon, The Art of Fiction No. 224 ›
- Thomas Pynchon | Books | The Guardian ›
- Thomas Pynchon Drops In and “Nature's Nation” Gives Way to ... ›
- Thomas Pynchon at 80 – eight reasons to celebrate his birthday ... ›
- Tracking Down Thomas Pynchon -- New York Magazine ›