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Martin Paul Eve

Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing at Birkbeck, University of London

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... International Pynchon Week, Day 2 (continued from previous post). 09:00-10:30 Session V  chair: Paweł Frelik Huei-ju Wang (National Chi Nan University), The Figure of the Private Eye in Pynchon from The Crying of Lot 49 to Inherent Vice Huei-Ju's presentation offered an overview of the role of the Private Eye in two of the California cycle, arguing that Inherent Vice must be read not only as a novel of the 60s, but also as a novel of the publication era; post 9/11 America. Moving from the overstated critical stance of TCoL49 as a postmodern inverted detective novel, her argument read Pynchon's latest work as a critique of torture and extraordinary rendition in US foreign policy. Arkadiusz Misztal (Gdańsk University), Varied Modes of Detection: a Forensic Investigation into Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49 and Inherent Vice Continuing the detective panel, Arkadiusz's paper developed a reading of Pynchon's novels derived from the Morellian method of the famed Sherlock Holmes. Arguing that for Morellian method to succeed, some form of hierarchical structure must be established, Arkadiusz demonstrated that, in thwarting such a structure, Pynchon's texts function as voices for the marginalised. Paolo Simonetti (Università di Roma “Sapienza”), “Bye bye Black Dahlia”: Thomas Pynchon and the “Inherent Vice” of detective fiction Paolo's paper argued that, in the figure of Bigfoot, we are given a conflation of Swedish and American crime fiction references. Moving from the notion of hardboiled crime fiction, Paolo concluded that, fifty years after the publication of V., Doc Sportello is finally a character who achieves McClintic Sphere's mantra: "Keep cool, but care". 10:45-12:15 Session VI chair: Michael Harris Keith O’Neill (SUNY, Dutchess), Inherent Vice’s Monster Mash: Pynchon and the Gothic Unfortunately, Keith couldn't make the event. Doug Haynes (University of Sussex), The Virtues of Vice: ‘Black Humour’ in Inherent Vice and Beyond Neutrality disclaimer: Doug is my doctoral supervisor. Doug's paper focused on issues of currency and gold in Inherent Vice. Starting with the Golden Fang, he developed a post-Marxian reading which saw a telos beyond the frame of reference in the novel to Nixon's 1971 move to take America off the gold standard. Such a reading brought new relevance to a text which, in most papers, has been seen as a retrospective; Doug's work posited IV as a narrative of debt which strongly resonates with the contemporary economic situation. Celia Wallhead (Univeristy Of Granada), The Ineludible Flaws In Hippiedom And Fascism In Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice Celia's paper tackled the ongoing "battle" between hippies and fascists in Pynchon's work, but specifically in Inherent Vice. Citing her personal experiences as well as textual material, she brought insight to this important topic in Pynchon studies . 14:15-15:45 Session VII chair: Terence Reilly Xavier Marcó del Pont (Royal Holloway, University of London), Paranoid Reading: Narrative Structure and Organisational Devices in Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day and Inherent Vice Xavier's paper took a narrative theory approacch to AtD and IV, arguing that Pynchon's titles have frequently provided us with nominative descriptors of their own structuring devices (V = chevron, GR = parabola, M&D = line). Arguing that AtD deploys an electromagnetic sine-wave as one such spatialisation, he demonstrated that character frequency could be a factor in such a reading; Franz Ferdinand being a low frequency character for instance, while the Chums of Chance rank higher. Conversely, arguing that IV is composed of a "vice" -- a linguistic interconnection of which I felt unsure -- Xavier moved to exploit the visual similarity of the parenthesis; a set of which he claims has been placed around the countercultural sixties. Petrus van Ewijk (University of Antwerp), The ARPAnet Trip: The Network from Gravity’s Rainbow to Inherent Vice Petrus' paper took a Deleuzian framework to examine the evolution of the internet in Pynchon's work, from GR through to IV. I really enjoyed this paper (as a geek) which brilliantly captured the tension between a distributed structure that empowers and a distributed structure that is resistant to shutdown and which only controls. Michel Ryckx (developer, Eindhoven, Netherlands), Abundancy and Dialogue in Pynchon Criticism: A Possible Model for a Computed Secondary Bibliography Sadly, Michel couldn't make it. 16:00-17:30 Session VIII chair: Tomasz Basiuk Kate Delaney (MIT), Hoop dreams: the soundtrack of Inherent Vice Kate's paper was perhaps the most offbeat work of the day, which focused on the representation of Doc's support for the Los Angeles Lakers. Pointing out such historical features as the time-delay on the playoffs and the difference between the Lakers fan of 1970 and the contemporary (1970 was a run of bad luck second bests for the Lakers), she convincingly argued that Pynchon has got it right here in most respects; for Doc to come second at everything he tries seems apt. Sascha Pöhlmann (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München), Pynchon’s Games Apart from being a truly engaging speaker, Sascha's work on games, play and seriousness had, for me, one incredibly serious point with far reaching ramifications. If "play" is as freewheeling as we would like to believe, how would we recognise it. Taking a stance on rules as inherent to play and games, Sascha gave several examples of Pynchon's supposed literary playfulness, in order to demonstrate how they can be read as far more seriousness than had been imagined. Gary Thompson (Saginaw Valley State University, Michigan), Performing Pynchon Gary took an overview of different definitions of performance, ranging from Schechner to Phelan, in order to examine the ways in which Pynchon's work can be read as performance. Arguing of the danger in a trivialization in the performance term "play", he specified that GR is a clearly bounded text with its own set of internal rules.