Thomas Pynchon quotes

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Thomas Pynchon

Birthdate: 8. May 1937

Thomas Ruggles Pynchon Jr. is an American novelist. A MacArthur Fellow, he is noted for his dense and complex novels. His fiction and non-fiction writings encompass a vast array of subject matter, genres and themes, including history, music, science, and mathematics. For Gravity's Rainbow, Pynchon won the 1973 U.S. National Book Award for Fiction.Hailing from Long Island, Pynchon served two years in the United States Navy and earned an English degree from Cornell University. After publishing several short stories in the late 1950s and early 1960s, he began composing the novels for which he is best known: V. , The Crying of Lot 49 , and Gravity's Rainbow . His 2009 novel Inherent Vice was adapted into a feature film of the same name by director Paul Thomas Anderson in 2014. Pynchon is notoriously reclusive; few photographs of him have been published, and rumors about his location and identity have circulated since the 1960s. Pynchon's most recent novel, Bleeding Edge, was published on September 17, 2013. Wikipedia

Works

Gravity's Rainbow
Gravity's Rainbow
Thomas Pynchon
The Crying of Lot 49
Thomas Pynchon
V.
Thomas Pynchon
Mason & Dixon
Mason & Dixon
Thomas Pynchon
Inherent Vice
Inherent Vice
Thomas Pynchon
Against the Day
Against the Day
Thomas Pynchon
Vineland
Vineland
Thomas Pynchon
Bleeding Edge
Bleeding Edge
Thomas Pynchon

„Once they have you asking the wrong questions. They don't have to worry about the answers.“

—  Thomas Pynchon, book Gravity's Rainbow

Variant: If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.
Source: Gravity's Rainbow

„LATER than usual one summer morning in 1984, Zoyd Wheeler drifted awake in sunlight through a creeping fig that hung in the window, with a squadron of blue jays stomping around on the roof. In his dream these had been carrier pigeons from someplace far across the ocean, landing and taking off again one by one, each bearing a message for him, but none of whom, light pulsing in their wings, he could ever quite get to in time.“

—  Thomas Pynchon, book Vineland

First lines
Vineland (1990)
Context: LATER than usual one summer morning in 1984, Zoyd Wheeler drifted awake in sunlight through a creeping fig that hung in the window, with a squadron of blue jays stomping around on the roof. In his dream these had been carrier pigeons from someplace far across the ocean, landing and taking off again one by one, each bearing a message for him, but none of whom, light pulsing in their wings, he could ever quite get to in time. He understood it to be another deep nudge from forces unseen, almost surely connected with the letter that had come along with his latest mental-disability check, reminding him that unless he did something publicly crazy before a date now less than a week away, he would no longer qualify for benefits. He groaned out of bed.

„But the reality is in this head. Mine. I’m the projector at the planetarium, all the closed little universe visible in the circle of that stage is coming out of my mouth, eyes, sometimes other orifices also.“

—  Thomas Pynchon, book The Crying of Lot 49

Source: The Crying of Lot 49 (1966), Chapter 3
Context: You don’t understand,” getting mad. “You guys, you’re like Puritans are about the Bible. So hung up with words, words. You know where that play exists, not in that file cabinet, not in any paperback you’re looking for, but—” a hand emerged from the veil of shower-steam to indicate his suspended head—“in here. That’s what I’m for. To give the spirit flesh. The words, who cares? They’re rote noises to hold line bashes with, to get past the bone barrier around an actor’s memory, right? But the reality is in this head. Mine. I’m the projector at the planetarium, all the closed little universe visible in the circle of that stage is coming out of my mouth, eyes, sometimes other orifices also.

„Don't try to undermine my confidence in you“

—  Thomas Pynchon, book Gravity's Rainbow

Gravity's Rainbow (1973)
Context: "You." A finger the size of a corncob, an inch from Slothrop's nose.
...
"Look," Slothrop's friend producing a kraft-paper envelope that even in the gloom Slothrop can tell is fat with American Army yellow-seal scrip, "I want you to hold this for me, till I ask for it back. It looks like Italo is going to get here before Tamara, and I'm not sure which one"
"At this rate, Tamara's gonna get here before tonight," Slothrop interjects in a Groucho Marx voice.
"Don't try to undermine my confidence in you," advises the Large One. "You're the man."

„We are accordingly lost to any sense of continuous tradition. Perhaps if we lived on a crest, things would be different. We could at least see.“

—  Thomas Pynchon, book V.

Source: V. (1963), Chapter Seven, Part I
Context: Perhaps history this century, thought Eigenvalue, is rippled with gathers in its fabric such that if we are situated, as Stencil seemed to be, at the bottom of a fold, it's impossible to determine warp, woof, or pattern anywhere else. By virtue, however, of existing in one gather it is assumed there are others, compartmented off into sinuous cycles each of which had come to assume greater importance than the weave itself and destroy any continuity. Thus it is that we are charmed by the funny-looking automobiles of the '30's, the curious fashions of the '20's, the particular moral habits of our grandparents. We produce and attend musical comedies about them and are conned into a false memory, a phony nostalgia about what they were. We are accordingly lost to any sense of continuous tradition. Perhaps if we lived on a crest, things would be different. We could at least see.

„As nights went on and nothing happened and the phenomenon slowly faded to the accustomed deeper violets again, most had difficulty remembering the earlier rise of heart, the sense of overture and possibility and went back once again to seeking only orgasm, hallucination, stupor, sleep, to fetch them through the night and prepare them against the day“

—  Thomas Pynchon, book Against the Day

Source: Against the Day (2006), p. 802 <!-- (Penguin Books 2006) -->
Context: It went on for a month. Those who had taken it for a cosmic sign cringed beneath the sky each nightfall, imagining ever more extravagant disasters. Others, for whom orange did not seem an appropriately apocalyptic shade, sat outdoors on public benches, reading calmly, growing used to the curious pallor. As nights went on and nothing happened and the phenomenon slowly faded to the accustomed deeper violets again, most had difficulty remembering the earlier rise of heart, the sense of overture and possibility and went back once again to seeking only orgasm, hallucination, stupor, sleep, to fetch them through the night and prepare them against the day.

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„This ascent will be betrayed to Gravity. But the Rocket engine, the deep cry of combustion that jars the soul, promises escape. The victim, in bondage to falling, rises on a promise, a prophecy, of Escape….“

—  Thomas Pynchon, book Gravity's Rainbow

Gravity's Rainbow (1973)
Context: This ascent will be betrayed to Gravity. But the Rocket engine, the deep cry of combustion that jars the soul, promises escape. The victim, in bondage to falling, rises on a promise, a prophecy, of Escape....
Moving now toward the kind of light where at last the apple is apple-colored. The knife cuts through the apple like a knife cutting an apple. Everything is where it is, no clearer than usual, but certainly more present. So much has to be left behind now, so quickly.

„Kekulé dreams the Great Serpent holding its own tail in its mouth, the dreaming Serpent which surrounds the World. But the meanness, the cynicism with which this dream is to be used. The Serpent that announces, "The World is a closed thing, cyclical, resonant, eternally-returning," is to be delivered into a system whose only aim is to violate the Cycle. Taking and not giving back, demanding that "productivity" and "earnings" keep on increasing with time, the System removing from the rest of the World these vast quantities of energy to keep its own tiny desperate fraction showing a profit: and not only most of humanity — most of the World, animal, vegetable, and mineral, is laid waste in the process.“

—  Thomas Pynchon, book Gravity's Rainbow

Gravity's Rainbow (1973)
Context: Kekulé dreams the Great Serpent holding its own tail in its mouth, the dreaming Serpent which surrounds the World. But the meanness, the cynicism with which this dream is to be used. The Serpent that announces, "The World is a closed thing, cyclical, resonant, eternally-returning," is to be delivered into a system whose only aim is to violate the Cycle. Taking and not giving back, demanding that "productivity" and "earnings" keep on increasing with time, the System removing from the rest of the World these vast quantities of energy to keep its own tiny desperate fraction showing a profit: and not only most of humanity — most of the World, animal, vegetable, and mineral, is laid waste in the process. The System may or may not understand that it's only buying time. And that time is an artificial resource to being with, of no value to anyone or anything but the System, which must sooner or later crash to its death, when its addiction to energy has become more than the rest of the World can supply, dragging with it innocent souls all along the chain of life.

„I want you to hold this for me, till I ask for it back. It looks like Italo is going to get here before Tamara, and I'm not sure which one“

—  Thomas Pynchon, book Gravity's Rainbow

Gravity's Rainbow (1973)
Context: "You." A finger the size of a corncob, an inch from Slothrop's nose.
...
"Look," Slothrop's friend producing a kraft-paper envelope that even in the gloom Slothrop can tell is fat with American Army yellow-seal scrip, "I want you to hold this for me, till I ask for it back. It looks like Italo is going to get here before Tamara, and I'm not sure which one"
"At this rate, Tamara's gonna get here before tonight," Slothrop interjects in a Groucho Marx voice.
"Don't try to undermine my confidence in you," advises the Large One. "You're the man."

„At this rate, Tamara's gonna get here before tonight“

—  Thomas Pynchon, book Gravity's Rainbow

Gravity's Rainbow (1973)
Context: "You." A finger the size of a corncob, an inch from Slothrop's nose.
...
"Look," Slothrop's friend producing a kraft-paper envelope that even in the gloom Slothrop can tell is fat with American Army yellow-seal scrip, "I want you to hold this for me, till I ask for it back. It looks like Italo is going to get here before Tamara, and I'm not sure which one"
"At this rate, Tamara's gonna get here before tonight," Slothrop interjects in a Groucho Marx voice.
"Don't try to undermine my confidence in you," advises the Large One. "You're the man."

„If he’d been the type who evolves theories of history for his own amusement, he might have said all political events: wars, governments and uprisings, have the desire to get laid as their roots; because history unfolds according to economic forces and the only reason anybody wants to get rich is so he can get laid steadily, with whoever he chooses.“

—  Thomas Pynchon, book V.

Source: V. (1963), Chapter Eight
Context: The eyes of New York women do not see the wandering bums or the boys with no place to go. Material wealth and getting laid strolled arm-in-arm the midway of Profane’s mind. If he’d been the type who evolves theories of history for his own amusement, he might have said all political events: wars, governments and uprisings, have the desire to get laid as their roots; because history unfolds according to economic forces and the only reason anybody wants to get rich is so he can get laid steadily, with whoever he chooses. All he believed at this point, on the bench behind the library was, that any body who worked for inanimate money so he could by more inanimate objects was out of his head. Inanimate money was to get animate warmth, dead fingernails in the living shoulderblades, quick cries against the pillow, tangled hair, lidded eyes, listing loins.

„The pattern would have been familiar—bohemian, creative, arty—except that it was even further removed from reality, Romanticism in its furthest decadence; being only an exhausted impersonation of poverty, rebellion and artistic “soul.” For it was the unhappy fact that most of them worked for a living and obtained the substance of their conversation from the pages of Time magazine and like publications“

—  Thomas Pynchon, book V.

Source: V. (1963), Chapter Two, Part II
Context: The rest of the Crew partook of the same lethargy. Raoul wrote for television, keeping carefully in mind, and complaining bitterly about, all the sponsor-fetishes of that industry. Slab painted in sporadic bursts, referring to himself as a Catatonic Expressionist and his work as “the ultimate in non-communication.” Melvin played the guitar and sang liberal folk songs. The pattern would have been familiar—bohemian, creative, arty—except that it was even further removed from reality, Romanticism in its furthest decadence; being only an exhausted impersonation of poverty, rebellion and artistic “soul.” For it was the unhappy fact that most of them worked for a living and obtained the substance of their conversation from the pages of Time magazine and like publications

„What have the watchmen of the world's edge come tonight to look for? Deepening on now, monumental beings stoical, on toward slag, toward ash the colour the night will stabilize at, tonight… what is there grandiose enough to witness?“

—  Thomas Pynchon, book Gravity's Rainbow

Gravity's Rainbow (1973)
Context: Out at the horizon, out near the burnished edge of the world, who are these visitors standing... these robed figures — perhaps, at this distance, hundreds of miles tall — their faces, serene, unattached, like the Buddha's, bending over the sea, impassive, indeed, as the Angel that stood over Lübeck during the Palm Sunday raid, come that day neither to destroy nor to protect, but to bear witness to a game of seduction... What have the watchmen of the world's edge come tonight to look for? Deepening on now, monumental beings stoical, on toward slag, toward ash the colour the night will stabilize at, tonight... what is there grandiose enough to witness?

„As spread thighs are to the libertine, flights of migratory birds to the ornithologist, the working part of his tool bit to the production machinist, so was the letter V to young Stencil.“

—  Thomas Pynchon, book V.

Source: V. (1963), Chapter Three
Context: As spread thighs are to the libertine, flights of migratory birds to the ornithologist, the working part of his tool bit to the production machinist, so was the letter V to young Stencil. He would dream perhaps once a week that it had all been a dream, and that now he’d awakened to discover the pursuit of V. was merely a scholarly quest after all, an adventure of the mind, in the tradition of ‘’The Golden Bough’’ or ‘’The White Goddess’’
But Soon enough he’d wale up the second, real time, to make again the tiresome discovery that it hadn’t really stopped being the same simple-minded literal pursuit; V. ambiguously a beast of venery, chased like the hart, hind or hare, chased like an obsolete or bizarre, or forbidden form of sexual delight. And clownish Stencil capering along behind her, bells a jingle, waving a wood, toy oxgoad. For no one’s amusement but his own.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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