Reassessing the Gravity’s Rainbow Pynchon Wiki: a new research paradigm?



Rowberry S (2012) Reassessing the Gravity’s Rainbow Pynchon Wiki: a new research paradigm?. Orbit: Writing Around Pynchon, 1 (1).;

Since the Against the Day Wiki launched in October 2006, the Pynchon Wiki collection has received over twenty thousand edits, making it one of the largest, dedicated literary reference Wikis. One can now view and add annotations to all seven of Pynchon's novels - only Slow Learner and his non-fiction remain sans Wiki -, and a loose community of over four hundred contributors have done so. This paper will assess the importance of the Gravity's Rainbow Wiki in transforming understanding and interpretation through asking four different questions: does the Wiki count as a disruptive force in the Pynchon interpretive industry, who contributes to the Wiki, what types of contribution they make, and how do they exploit the hypertextual features on offer through the MediaWiki package. I will suggest that the Pynchon Wiki does not fully depart from old media forms of interpretation and remains fragmented in both community, resembling a symphony of soloists, and potential connections. This is a version of Web 2.0 synthesizing both Darcy DiNucci's original dystopian vision of fragmentation (DiNucci) and Tim O'Reilly's utopian idea of harnessing ‘collective intelligence' (O'Reilly).

Orbit: Writing Around Pynchon: Volume 1, Issue 1

Publication date08/07/2012
PublisherOpen Library of Humanities
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Dr Simon Rowberry

Dr Simon Rowberry

Lecturer, Communications, Media and Culture