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Back to Gondwanaland: Deep Time and Planetarity in Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow and Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian

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In a recent article, Kate Marshall identifies “an emerging body of US fiction located firmly within the strata and sediment of the Anthropocene,” focusing exclusively on twenty-first century literature. A similar chronological focus shapes discussions of the related concept of planetarity, which was first introduced in literary theory in Spivak’s Death of a Discipline (2003). The tendency to relegate anthropocenic and planetary concerns to this millennium is prevalent, and it is evident in the reception of Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (both 2006). However, anthropocenic and planetary concerns have been around much longer in literary fiction, and the two authors have treated them much more elaborately in their most important works, Gravity’s Rainbow (1973) and Blood Meridian (1985). Both novels were written before concepts of the Anthropocene and planetarity became theoretical staples, but I aim to show that their thoughts on humanity and the planet prefigure the recent literary works that critics have centered their discussions of the Anthropocene on. Furthermore, I will show how both novels reflect on language as yet another technology that violates nature’s continuum, and how language is thus presented by Pynchon and McCarthy as a significant force in the Anthropocene.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftCritique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction
Vol/bind62
Nummer1
Sider (fra-til)97-111
Antal sider15
ISSN0011-1619
DOI
StatusUdgivet - jan. 2021

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