Thomas Pynchon: Realism in an Age of Ontological Uncertainty?



Watson C (2008) Thomas Pynchon: Realism in an Age of Ontological Uncertainty?. Literature Compass, 5 (1), pp. 11-19.;

This paper considers literary realism in the novels of Thomas Pynchon as a means to examine the ways in which realism is embedded within a post-modern context. After first considering some of the problems surrounding the concept of realism – its historical lineage, conflation with philosophical realism and the changing nature of reality itself – I discuss Pynchon’s novels in terms of his technological construction of reality effects within a context of ontological doubt. I suggest that in Pynchon we arrive at what might be called a ‘baroque realism’, which draws on the Deleuzian metaphor of the fold, and is concerned with questions of illusion and reality, paradox and complexity in tune with the ontological uncertainty that characterises the age.

Thomas Pynchon; literary realism; baroque realism; Deleuze; Pynchon, Thomas Criticism and interpretation; Realism in literature

Literature Compass: Volume 5, Issue 1

Publication date31/01/2008
Publication date online19/12/2007
PublisherBlackwell Publishing
Publisher URL…9424968/abstract

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Professor Cate Watson

Professor Cate Watson

Emeritus Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences