Thomas Pynchon, Sex, and Gender
Thomas Pynchon's fiction has been considered masculinist, misogynist, phallocentric, and pornographic: its formal experimentation, irony, and ambiguity have been taken both to complicate such judgments and to be parts of the problem. To the present day, deep critical divisions persist as to whether Pynchon's representations of women are sexist, feminist, or reflective of a more general misanthropy, whether his writing of sex is boorishly pornographic or effectually transgressive, whether queer identities are celebrated or mocked, and whether his departures from realist convention express masculinist elitism or critique the gendering of genre. Thomas Pynchon, Sex, and Gender reframes these debates. As the first book-length investigation of Pynchon's writing to put the topics of sex and gender at its core, it moves beyond binary debates about whether to see Pynchon as liberatory or conservative, instead examining how his preoccupation with sex and gender conditions his fiction's whole worldview. The essays it contains, which cumulatively address all of Pynchon's novels from V. (1963) to Bleeding Edge (2013), investigate such topics as the imbrication of gender and power, sexual abuse and the writing of sex, the gendering of violence, and the shifting representation of the family. Providing a wealth of new approaches to the centrality of sex and gender in Pynchon's work, the collection opens up new avenues for Pynchon studies as a whole.