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Martin Paul Eve

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

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This piece explores the conceptions of terrorism in two novels that stand separated by the calamitous events of September 11th, 2001: Pynchon's Against the Day and Don DeLillo's Underworld, with special focus upon the genesis of these depictions in Cold War politics and notions of capitalist statehood. While there are cases to be made for many geographico-historical connections in these works, both these novels frame the Cold War as a locus of economics, religion and terror that is to be found at few other points.

This piece also stages a direct engagement with Kathryn Hume's article, “The Religious and Political Vision of Pynchon's Against the Day,” which suggested an overt “seriousness” in which a “more aggressive” Pynchon “appears to support political violence”; terrorism (Hume 164). Here I will present the cumulative textual evidence that complicates such a stance through the fact that – in the thematic matrix of the Cold War which grounds this theme – the religious, the political and the terroristic cannot be cleanly separated.

Eve, Martin Paul, ‘“It Sure’s Hell Looked Like War”: Terrorism and the Cold War in Thomas Pynchon"s Against the Day and Don DeLillo’s Underworld’, in Thomas Pynchon and the (De)vices of Global (Post)modernity, ed. by Zofia Kolbuszewska (Lublin: Wydawnictwo KUL, 2013)