A Gravity’s Rainbow Companion
Sources and Contexts for Pynchon's Novel

Steven C. Weisenburger
Second Edition, Revised and Expanded

A reader's map through the allusive thicket of a singular literary work

Reviews

“Astute detective work . . . The Companion offers a wealth of information that makes it indispensable reading for Pynchon scholars. It is a remarkable achievement, representing untold hours of research into the flotsam and jetsam that constitutes the surface of Pynchon's preterite text.”
Pynchon Notes

"Pavlov, Grimm, Poisson's equation, I.G. Farben, the Kabbalah, the Tarot, the Hereros; science, history, myth, and popular culture: almost everything is here. For those not content to take Pynchon's references simply on faith, this is an absolutely invaluable work. It points up dramatically the paradox of creating so encyclopedic a work for an a-historical, a-literate work."
Journal of Modern Literature


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Description
Adding some 20 percent to the original content, this is a completely updated edition of Steven Weisenburger's indispensable guide to Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow. Weisenburger takes the reader page by page, often line by line, through the welter of historical references, scientific data, cultural fragments, anthropological research, jokes, and puns around which Pynchon wove his story. Weisenburger fully annotates Pynchon's use of languages ranging from Russian and Hebrew to such subdialects of English as 1940s street talk, drug lingo, and military slang as well as the more obscure terminology of black magic, Rosicrucianism, and Pavlovian psychology. The Companion also reveals the underlying organization of Gravity's Rainbow--how the book's myriad references form patterns of meaning and structure that have eluded both admirers and critics of the novel.

The Companion is keyed to the pages of the principal American editions of Gravity's Rainbow: Viking/Penguin (1973), Bantam (1974), and the special, repaginated Penguin paperback (2000) honoring the novel as one of twenty "Great Books of the Twentieth Century."

 

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Steven C. Weisenburger is Mossiker Chair in Humanities and chair of the English Department at Southern Methodist University. His books include Fables of Subversion: Satire and the American Novel, A Gravity's Rainbow Companion: Sources and Contexts for Pynchon's Novel (both Georgia) and Modern Medea.