The American Novel Since 1945

Yale Course , Spring 2008 , Prof. Amy Hungerford

98 students enrolled

Overview

Introductions - Richard Wright, Black Boy - Flannery OConnor, Wise Blood - Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita - Guest Lecture by Andrew Goldstone - Jack Kerouac, On the Road - J. D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey - John Barth, Lost in the Funhouse - Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49 - Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye - Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior - Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping - Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian - Philip Roth, The Human Stain - Edward P. Jones, The Known World - Students Choice Novel: Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated

Lecture 12: Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49

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        Lecture Details

        Professor Hungerford introduces this lecture by reviewing the ways that authors on the syllabus up to this point have dealt with the relationship between language and life, that collection of elusive or obvious things that for literary critics fall under the category of "the Real." The Real can shout out from a work of art, as it sometimes does in Black Boy, or haunt it, as in Lolita. It can elude authors like Kerouac and Barth for widely different reasons. Placing Pynchon firmly in the context of the political upheaval of the 1960s that he is often seen to avoid, Hungerford argues that Pynchon—no less than a writer of faith like Flannery OConnor—is deeply invested in questions of meaning and emotional response, so that The Crying of Lot 49 is a sincere call for connection, and a lament for loss, as much as it is an ironic, playful puzzle.

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