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Gravity's Rainbow
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Gravity's Rainbow - Spine 2012 > Questions, Resources, and General Banter - Gravity's Rainbow

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message 1: by Jim (last edited Mar 01, 2013 01:35AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim | 3030 comments Mod
This thread is for posting questions and links to resources for Thomas Pynchon's novel, Gravity's Rainbow.


Also, if you’ve written a review of the book, please post a link to share with the group.


message 2: by Ali (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ali | 9 comments I'm really excited about the prospect of reading this. I read GR once before, in November of last year. I loved it, but I feel that I read it too quickly because I read it all in one week, gobbling up the vast majority of it on the weekend, and understood it just enough to be profoundly affected, but not much else, as is evident if you read my review, which spends 1500 words saying I don't know what to think of the book. So I feel that a slower pace will give me a chance to understand it and take in its nuances much better than I did previously.

A few links:
A large collection of resources about GR, including articles, episode summaries, ETC:
http://www.themodernword.com/pynchon/...

The Gravity's Rainbow Page by page annotations on PynchonWiki, which will in turn lead to other resources on the book within the Wiki:
http://gravitys-rainbow.pynchonwiki.c...

Surprisingly, the Wikipedia entry for GR has a great summary of the basic plot, and even a select few interpretations of the more ambiguous events. It got a lot better since the last time I visited it:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravity%...


message 3: by Anandadeep (new) - added it

Anandadeep | 2 comments i don't know if this is of any help, but there is a documentary about pynchon called the world of pynchon, as one of the most reclusive writers, information about him is hard to come by, so even though the documentary wasn't that great, it was still interesting....


message 4: by Travis (new) - added it

Travis (TravisM) | 49 comments Ali wrote: "I'm really excited about the prospect of reading this. I read GR once before, in November of last year. I loved it, but I feel that I read it too quickly because I read it all in one week, gobbling..."

Are you insane?
That is a great effort. It probably would of given me an aneurysm.
Thanks for the resources.


message 5: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim | 3030 comments Mod
Here's a link to a documentary called "A Journey into the Mind of P"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwXLDv...


Christine Palau | 7 comments Since we're linking stuff, I'd like to contribute this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xbt30U...

because it was inspired by GR, and it's just so cool,

and this nice piece:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

I think I'm gonna start reading GR tomorrow. I thank you all in advance for your support.


message 7: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim | 3030 comments Mod
Damian wrote: "Thanks for posting this documentary Jim. Sets the scene perfectly for reading this book. Really looking forward to discussing this."

De nada!

@Christine - glad to have you along for the read. If you have a chance, take a look at the documentary I posted above; Sometime during the first 30 minutes, Pynchon's girlfriend takes the film crew to the beach house she lived in with Pynchon in Manhattan Beach while he was writing GR. If you can locate the house, take a pic of yourself there with a copy of GR - but make it Pynchonially Mysterious.....


Christine Palau | 7 comments @Christine - glad to have you along fo..."

Thanks for the extra-credit assignment, Jim! I'll do that as soon as I can.(Uhm, I've lived in LA all my adult life, and yet I've never been to Manhattan Beach.)


message 9: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim | 3030 comments Mod
Christine wrote: "@Christine - glad to have you along fo..."

Thanks for the extra-credit assignment, Jim! I'll do that as soon as I can.(Uhm, I've lived in LA all my adult life, and yet I've never been to Manhattan..."


When I lived in S.F. I would look for Tristero mailboxes, but never found any...


message 10: by Mosca (last edited Jun 01, 2012 09:56AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mosca | 12 comments I finshed Gravity's Rainbow about three years ago, after many years of effort. Definitly a rewarding read!

I will certainly be following the discussions.


message 11: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim | 3030 comments Mod
Mosca wrote: "I finshed Gravity's Rainbow about three years ago, after many years of effort. Definitly a rewarding read!

I will certainly be following the discussions."


Good to have a GR veteran along for the ride!


message 12: by Mosca (last edited Jun 01, 2012 11:22AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mosca | 12 comments If enough folks choose to read this, I hoping for some flavor of a long-term Spoiler thread remaining open.

This book is clearly complex; and having an involved discussion, over time, with smart patient readers would be a gift.

Oh, by the way, I'm two months new to this group; and I love the Slow-Books Manifesto. Obviously there are many, many worthwhile books that most cannot read, much less process in 30 days.

OhyesIjustreadHamletIt'saboutthisdanishguywithadisfunctionalfamily.


Whitney | 326 comments Jim wrote: " When I lived in S.F. I would look for Tristero mailboxes, but never found any......"

My friend's English Professor at SF State had a great story about finding "Tyrone Slothrop" in the phonebook, sending him a carefully worded postcard, and receiving an invitation to dinner with 'Tyrone' and his wife. "Gravity's Rainbow" was a subject of discussion at the dinner, but it was never made explicit whether or not Tyrone was actually Pynchon (the prof was fairly certain he was, but relished the ambiguity).

***Following is a spoiler alert for the insanely sensitive who think any quote from a book counts as a spoiler ****

I read GR twice through about 25 years ago when I was backpacking around various countries. It was the perfect book for a very extended trip where books in English weren't easy to come by, hence the second read due to my reluctance to part with it. Sadly, the part that seems to have stuck foremost in my brain is "You never did the Kenosha kid", which periodically bubbles up and forces me to go through all the possible variations.


message 14: by Jim (last edited Jun 01, 2012 01:21PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim | 3030 comments Mod
Mosca wrote: "If enough folks choose to read this, I hoping for some flavor of a long-term Spoiler thread remaining open.

This book is clearly complex; and having an involved discussion, over time, with smart p..."


Mosca and Whitney: Regarding spoilers, if you want to share some major plot point or passage that might ruin a surprise for our first time GR readers, just use the "spoiler" HTML thingy if the message/passage is about pages we haven't read yet. In general, I'm not too worried about spoilers in this Questions and Resources thread, but in the Weekly Discussion threads, please try to stay within the pages scheduled and the earlier parts. In the Weekly Discussions, I'm actually more interested in narrowing the focus to the section scheduled so we can dig deeper within a given chapter. Anyway, you get the idea. BTW, Whitney, nothing in your message constitutes a spoiler.


Whitney | 326 comments Jim wrote: "Anyway, you get the idea. BTW, Whitney, nothing in your message constitutes a spoiler..."

It does give away that the kid never did the Kenosha, so I thought I better play it safe.


message 16: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim | 3030 comments Mod
Whitney wrote: "Jim wrote: "Anyway, you get the idea. BTW, Whitney, nothing in your message constitutes a spoiler..."

It does give away that the kid never did the Kenosha, so I thought I better play it safe."


Good one! What's a Kenosha?


message 17: by Will (new) - added it

Will (wjmcomposer) | 119 comments I'm looking forward to this read, I could certainly use the distraction from the disaster that is buying a house. (is it normal when the home inspector quite literally bursts out laughing in every room? No don't answer that) I enjoyed The Crying of Lot 49 quite a bit, and I love the things being posted here about the mailboxes and the story with the postcard. I think I need a low work/high reading weekend. (is it normal to discuss building code violations with your cat at 5am? Don't answer that either... We're backing out of that deal anyway... The house, not the cat)


message 18: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim | 3030 comments Mod
Will wrote: "I'm looking forward to this read, I could certainly use the distraction from the disaster that is buying a house. (is it normal when the home inspector quite literally bursts out laughing in every ..."

It's normal if your cat has an in with the building department...

GR is a great, super-detailed, post-modern Ulysses-on-drugs, so you will definitely be able to escape your soon-to-be-a-homeowner stress.


Ellie (EllieArcher) | 252 comments I'm hoping the discussion here will help pull my reading along. I'm having a terrible time with this book-it's not only difficult, it feels (and I know it's horribly sexist of me) like a very "male" book. My son will probably love it.

I love the glimpses of understanding I almost have & I am determined to continue reading even though it seems possible that I will finish the book without understanding anything but the conjunctions. :(

So far, my brain's greatest pain!


message 20: by Ali (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ali | 9 comments I don't think that's sexist at all, because I got the same feeling. You are simply stating a fact. This book is brimming with testosterone. Whether that's deliberate or a part of Pynchon's writing style, we'll soon find out.


message 21: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim | 3030 comments Mod
Ellie wrote: "I'm hoping the discussion here will help pull my reading along. I'm having a terrible time with this book-it's not only difficult, it feels (and I know it's horribly sexist of me) like a very "male..."

Well, the first 109 pages I've read are all about the penis - bananas, rockets, actual penises, experiments with stroking an infant's penis, invisible ink that requires semen to read, etc. So no, not very sexist at all.....


message 22: by Mosca (last edited Jun 03, 2012 12:15PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mosca | 12 comments Ellie said: it feels (and I know it's horribly sexist of me) like a very "male" book. My son will probably love it.

Your observation is absoultley correct. I loved this book; but Pynchon has a sense of humor like an 18 year old (male) soldier. This statement holds true throughout the book.

But there is also so much more to the book. Some love it. Some hate it.

I say this, Ellie, so you know this early--this book requires a lot of effort. For me, it was worth the effort. But I don't know if I will ever have a single, resolved feeling about it.

But there are many prose passages so beautiful I will never forget them.


Ellie (EllieArcher) | 252 comments Thanks everyone for the responses.

I feel inspired.

I also was excited by the documentary-the fact that Pynchon was best friends with Richard Farina means a lot, oddly enough I suppose, to me.

In general, the documentary convinced me that this book is an important one for me to tackle.

It's not that I can't read "male" books. It just takes more of a conscious effort to enter the thought patterns (and this is a book that takes a lot of effort even without that).

I very much want to make it through this book.


Suzanne (Splat) Regarding spoilers....

I'm hoping to join the GR discussion. I find it funny that people are worrying about spoilers in GR. I don't think GR is that kind of book. There are no key plot moments or passages that would give anything away. My sense is that GR is not about the surprise of reading it the first time, but about the rewards of careful thoughtful reading (i.e. multiple reads).


Suzanne (Splat) Ellie wrote: "I'm having a terrible time with this book-it's not only difficult, it feels (and I know it's horribly sexist of me) like a very "male..."

It is very male, and it's not sexist to point that out. It also feels very dated in its representations of sexuality among other things.... Still a worthwhile read, I think.


Suzanne (Splat) I like Edward Mendelson's "Gravity's Encyclopedia" among the published essays on GR. It introduces the concept of Encyclopedic Narrative with GR being the quintessential example. I have it in hardcopy, and I'm not sure if there's an online version somewhere that doesn't require a subscription to read.


message 27: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim | 3030 comments Mod
Suzanne wrote: "Regarding spoilers....

I'm hoping to join the GR discussion. I find it funny that people are worrying about spoilers in GR. I don't think GR is that kind of book. There are no key plot moments or ..."


Yes, I kind of agree that it would be hard to spoil GR since everyone knows the Allies won...

What I really aim for when talking about spoilers is trying to focus a given week's discussion around a specific part of the book. If we're discussing chapter 3 and someone makes a comment about chapter 16, that pulls a lot of attention away from what we're talking about. Hope that makes sense...


Whitney | 326 comments Suzanne wrote: "I find it funny that people are worrying about spoilers in GR. I don't think GR is that kind of book. There are no key plot moments or ..."

Suzanne, see the discussion under "The Waves - Spine 2012" for an long discussion of people's different opinions on what they consider a 'spoiler'. Please note - it's a fairly exhaustive discussion, and I am NOT trying to reopen the issue here.


message 29: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim | 3030 comments Mod
Damian wrote: "Just to clarify. Is the discussion on the first 109 pages starting on 1tth June? Or does the reading start that day and the discussion a week later? I'm on holiday that week, so might miss the firs..."

The discussion starts on June 11th. Join in when you return from your holiday. Given how complex GR is, we'll be talking about each of the sections for more than a week at a time, so plenty of overlap.

Enjoy your holiday!


message 30: by Matthew (new) - added it

Matthew (MLAd4ms) | 4 comments Hey Everyone,

I was lurking while you read The Recognitions, but I stumbled on some information tonight about Gravity's Rainbow that I thought people might find important. The kindle version of GR just became available this week, and I was thinking of getting it. While looking through the reviews, I discovered this review of the Penguin Deluxe edition of GR:

http://www.amazon.com/review/RBVC0DP4...

I had purchased this edition last year when I tried to read GR, but it just so happens that I also have a real beat up paperback edition from Bantam Books that was published in 1974. I looked up the the typo/omission that the reviewer mentions in their review and confirmed that the Penguin Deluxe version has errors.

Thanks,
Matthew

PS: I am writing this (or trying to anyway) from my iPad, so please excuse any glaring typos.


message 31: by Ali (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ali | 9 comments Hmmm. I don't know if it's all Penguin editions of the book. It may be just that one. Mine is also from Penguin, but it was published in 1995, and when I checked the passage he sited, it was fine, save for the fact that mine said "in these dreams", not "in the dreams", as well as there being an em-dash in mine that wasn't in his sitation. Whether those are typos on his part, or one of our editions is reworded from the original, I'm not sure. The differences are minor enough that I'm pretty sure it's just typos in the review. All the same, it's good that you found this, so that those with that edition can be aware of what they might encounter. I hope the Kindle version isn't like this. Pynchon was resistent to digitising his books for the longest time, and if that's the type of thing they do to his magnum opus right away...


message 32: by Matthew (new) - added it

Matthew (MLAd4ms) | 4 comments My 1974 version is like yours ("in *these* dreams" and the em-dash)...

The sentence in the Penguin Deluxe edition makes no sense ("Your task, in these dreams, is often to pens."). I'd like to think the other typos the reviewer alludes to is the reason I had a hard time reading GR the first time, but I know that is not true. Either way, I think next time I try and tackle the book, I am going to read my 1974 version (and hope it doesn't disintegrate).

For what it's worth, I purchased the Penguin Modern Classic kindle version of Ulysses and it was lousy with errors. Mostly optical character recognition errors ("Air Bloom" instead of "Mr Bloom"), but some where it would have a paragraph from a previous page inserted in the text . I thought a paid version by a respectable publisher would be better than a free version. I was wrong. Amazon no longer sells the Penguin Modern Classic kindle version of Ulysses.

By the way, just a reminder, Bloomsday is this Saturday!


message 33: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim | 3030 comments Mod
Matthew wrote: "My 1974 version is like yours ("in *these* dreams" and the em-dash)...

The sentence in the Penguin Deluxe edition makes no sense ("Your task, in these dreams, is often to pens."). I'd like to th..."


That's a pretty big mistake they made. I have a lot of Penguin books on my shelves, and now I'm wondering how many have errors.

I have a Vintage Books GR published in 2000 without the error cited above.

If anyone finds more errors in the Penguin Deluxe, please let us all know...


message 34: by Bill (last edited Jun 15, 2012 03:07PM) (new)

Bill (BillGNYC) | 443 comments One of the things I've discovered, as both a Nook and a Kindle owner, is that the level of proof reading for conversions may be less than fabulous.

I once downloaded a copy of Bloom's translation of Plato's Republic and it was virtually without proofreading and, for me, unreadable. There were errors on every page, if I remember correctly. they later took it off the market and replaced it with a new book with a new introduction at a higher price

In most books this is not a major problem because the errors are relatively few, easy to understand, and minimally annoying.

It can be tricky, though, when a writer is using language in a way that you can't automatically correct in your mind.


Mosca | 12 comments Gravity's Rainbow without proofreading! My God, that is a frightening idea!


message 36: by Ali (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ali | 9 comments Yeah. It's sort of like Finnegans Wake without proofreading. At least GR is fixable because it has normal English words, whereas with Finnegans Wake, short of going onto Gutenberg Australia and downloading the ebook to compare, you would have little to no idea if what you were reading was an error, or part of the book.


Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (NathanNRGaddis) Ali wrote: "Yeah. It's sort of like Finnegans Wake without proofreading."

The proof-reading of FW took 30 years and has now been published in an affordable edition:
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13...

More here:
http://www.houyhnhnmpress.com/finnega...

I'm learning that there are more and more reasons to not trust an ereader with any text in which the shape of the text is important.


Whitney | 326 comments Jim wrote: "When I lived in S.F. I would look for Tristero mailboxes, but never found any..."

Check again, Jim! link: Trystero spreads around the world.


message 39: by Matthew (new) - added it

Matthew (MLAd4ms) | 4 comments FYI..someone (Jake McDougald) replied to my comment on the Amazon review and confirmed that the omission that is in the Penguin Deluxe edition is also in the kindle edition.


message 40: by Ali (last edited Jun 20, 2012 02:16PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ali | 9 comments My heart hurts. I could be selfish and say something like "Well I'm glad I don't have those editions, sucks for the people who do, haw haw haw!" but just thinking of all the people trying to read GR for the first time, not knowing that there are mistakes and omissions in that edition, having it reduced to near incomprehensibility and not being able to experience its greatness in full, possibly putting Pynchon down and never picking him back up again just because of the mistakes in the Penguin Deluxe edition of GR, as well as whatever mongrel version they've got on the Kindle (probably the same Deluxe one, since it's got the same mistakes in it) that they never would have seen had they picked up, as far as I know, any other edition on the market (and there are many) is kind of painful to think about.


Ellie (EllieArcher) | 252 comments I am reading both the kindle and the print edition and not finding a huge difference. Plus it's just so much easier for me on the Kindle so...I'm thrilled it came out.


message 42: by Barbara (new) - added it

Barbara (BarbaraSC) | 249 comments Matthew wrote: "Hey Everyone,

I was lurking while you read The Recognitions, but I stumbled on some information tonight about Gravity's Rainbow that I thought people might find important. The kindle version of GR..."


Oh no!!! I'm reading GR on the Nook. It JUST became available on the Nook within the past few weeks, and I was SO HAPPY because, as Ellie said (in Message 43 in this thread) "...it's just so much easier for me on the Kindle..." I feel the same about the Nook.

BUT, I just found the line that Matthew is referring to in Message 32, and in my Nook edition it says "Your task, in these dreams, is often to pens."

I wonder how many other mistakes I've read so far??!!!

Matthew, thank you for sharing that Amazon review!! The "original" line beginning with "Your task.." is really a beautiful line, and if I didn't see your post here I would be wondering what on earth Pynchon is talking about, regarding "pens" !!!!!

Well, I purchased GR on the Nook, so I'm going to finish reading it on the Nook. I really have a difficult time reading "big, thick" books in the printed version, even if it's softbound. I live in NYC and walk everywhere, and whatever I'm currently reading is always in my bag, so it's been a pleasure to have the Nook for that reason. Also, some of you may remember that I broke my wrist last November and it will never be completely healed, which is another reason the Nook is SO MUCH better for me. It's difficult to hold a heavy book. (I'll be reading Infinite Jest on my Nook as well.)

Bummer!!! I hope the "task/dreams/pens" example is the worst of the mistakes in the Kindle/Nook/Penguin Deluxe editions!!


message 43: by Ashley (new) - added it

Ashley | 55 comments Barbara wrote: "Matthew wrote: "Hey Everyone,

I was lurking while you read The Recognitions, but I stumbled on some information tonight about Gravity's Rainbow that I thought people might find important. The kind..."


Well crap. That's the edition I have too. I just got to that sentence, which made no sense, mentioned in the review. Hopefully there aren't too many more like that, because that is going to get very annoying. Plus, like Barbara said, that was a beautiful line before the Penguin edition mauled it. Oh well. I'm not about to go buy another copy, so I'll just have to deal.


Matthew | 85 comments Hi all,

Just wanted to make sure to mention I checked my copy of the book, the 2006 Penguin Deluxe edition with the Frank Miller paper cover, and the passage mentioned missing in the Amazon review is actually in my book intact. It looks as though some copies got the last line removed at the page break and other didn't.

I'm quite thankful mine didn't. It's a libary copy and I don't have the cash to pick it up right now. (although I will be owning GR at some point.. I do want to read it again.)

Anyone else have a copy of the 2006 edition without any big noticeable errors?

-Matt


message 45: by Matthew (last edited Jun 23, 2012 07:52PM) (new) - added it

Matthew (MLAd4ms) | 4 comments Weird...

Does your copy have the deckle edge?


Matthew | 85 comments Yes it has the deckle edge and the cover by Frank Miller.


message 47: by Traveller (new) - added it

Traveller (Moontravlr) Good heavens, but i'm actually finding this harder than Derrida, y'all! Oodles harder.. I think i might be a bit young for all the WWII and references contemporaneous to that era that he makes, so i've now grabbed this A Gravity's Rainbow Companion: Sources and Contexts for Pynchon's Novel, and boy, does it seem like manna in the desert...


message 48: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim | 3030 comments Mod
Die Schwarzkommandoes leben!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-18...


message 49: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim | 3030 comments Mod
The first 25 minutes of this documentary is all about the German rocket program and includes footage from Peenemünde and Nordhausen. I think there might even be a glimpse of Gottfried...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y44lp_...


message 50: by Ricardo (last edited Oct 08, 2012 07:55AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ricardo (RiksRiks) | 1 comments So has anyone noticed any other important omission besides the one mentioned in that Amazon review? I have a deckle edge, frank miller cover, penguin deluxe edition and it has that mistake. So I'm wondering if there are any other mistakes that could be important to know...


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Gravity's Rainbow (other topics)
A Gravity's Rainbow Companion: Sources and Contexts for Pynchon's Novel (other topics)

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Thomas Pynchon (other topics)