This book is an attempt to illuminate the ways in which Thomas Pynchon’s later novels – Vineland (1990), Mason & Dixon (1997), Against the Day (2006), Inherent Vice (2009), and Bleeding Edge (2013) – configure a vibrant political imagination, which marks a significant departure from the paranoid and entropic vision of his earlier (high postmodernist) works. The more recent novels invite reflection on a series of issues invested with a significant ethical and political dimension, committing themselves to a vocabulary that foregrounds the values of community, social justice, relationality, and interdependence. By placing this corpus in conversation with influential works in contemporary (political) philosophy, this study argues that the subtle shift of sensibility at the heart of Pynchon’s later fiction is most visible in its re-envisioning of the relation of the self to the Other in more hospitable terms.
Diana Benea is Lecturer in the English Department at the University of Bucharest, Romania, where she teaches courses in American literature and American studies methodologies. She was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the City University of New York – The Graduate Center (2017-2018). Her main research areas include (post-) postmodernist American fiction and contemporary American drama and performance (with a focus on the ethico-political stakes of theater for social change).