Gravity's Rainbow

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luka's currently reading it, there's lots to talk about and it's starting to creep into other threads, so perhaps it's time to have a dedicated one...
 

luka

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It's a history book first and foremost, that's how it feels to me. How did we get HERE under the dominion of THIS Empire.
 

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Who loves ya, baby?
It's a history book first and foremost, that's how it feels to me. How did we get HERE under the dominion of THIS Empire.
Yeah, definitely. I think he's always been a historian at heart, you look at everything he's published and it's always located around some point of change or upheaval, often deeply entwined with technological progress.
 

luka

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One of the themes of the book I think, is that the goodies didn't win WW2. This is a commonplace of the paranoid set and for some it leads inexorably to anti semitism and Hitler worship. But it's not the same as saying the Nazis were right or that the world would be a better place had they of won but in locating the commonality and the blurring of identity between the two sides, both representing a specific vision of modernity. That they created the future in collaboration almost, hand in hand.
 

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A screaming comes across the sky. It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare it to now.

----------------------------------------------------

Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the Angelic

Orders? And even if one were to suddenly

take me to its heart, I would vanish into its

stronger existence. For beauty is nothing but

the beginning of terror, that we are still able to bear,

and we revere it so, because it calmly disdains

to destroy us. Every Angel is terror.
 

luka

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The Duino Elegies were very important to me as a teenager. They taught me a lot about being a poet. It's a cult of intensity, that's Rilke really I think. Certainly in the Elegies. I don't exactly get what Pynchon wants to do with him, although partly ~things stirring in the Teutonic imagination~ ideals and atavisms. Orientations. Soul-Desires.
 

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Who loves ya, baby?
One of the themes of the book I think, is that the goodies didn't win WW2. This is a commonplace of the paranoid set and for some it leads inexorably to anti semitism and Hitler worship. But it's not the same as saying the Nazis were right or that the world would be a better place had they of won but in locating the commonality and the blurring of identity between the two sides, both representing a specific vision of modernity. That they created the future in collaboration almost, hand in hand.
Apparently Patton actually said that "we have defeated the wrong enemy" after the Third Reich fell and felt that the US should have allied with Hitler against the Soviet Union.
 

luka

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Ww2 is a founding myth of the modern world. It props up the Empire. If you can attack it without giving the slightest inch, succour, wink to Nazis, I think it's worth doing.
 

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One of the things that really made an impression on me when I first read it and looked into some of the stuff he was talking about was how much of the 'enemy' apparatus was absorbed by the allies. I didn't know anything about Operation Paperclip and that sort of thing until I read GR and it really altered the way I view the war and "history" as a whole.
 

luka

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Yes exactly. If it wasn't a shared project during the war it certainly becomes one in its wake.
 

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Hilarius in Lot 49 perfecting his craft in the concentration camps before worming his way into 60s California and invading the minds of housewives and dropouts.
 

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The "Phoebus Cartel" that appears later in the book was a real thing too - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoebus_cartel

The Phoebus cartel existed to control the manufacture and sale of incandescent light bulbs. They appropriated market territories and fixed the useful life of such bulbs.[1] Corporations based in Europe and America founded the cartel on January 15, 1925 in Geneva[2]. They had intended the cartel to last for thirty years (1925 to 1955). The cartel ceased operations in 1939 owing to the outbreak of World War II. The cartel included manufacturers Osram, General Electric, Associated Electrical Industries, and Philips,[3] among others.

The Phoebus cartel created a notable landmark in the history of the global economy because it engaged in large-scale planned obsolescence to generate repeated sales and maximize profit. It also reduced competition in the light bulb industry for almost fifteen years. Critics accused the cartel of preventing technological advances that would produce longer-lasting light bulbs. Phoebus based itself in Switzerland. The corporation named itself Phœbus S.A. Compagnie Industrielle pour le Développement de l'Éclairage (French for "Phoebus, Inc. Industrial Company for the Development of Lighting").
 

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You notice the opening mirrors Ulysses? Pirate = Buck Mulligan, milling about in his dressing gown, ascending the steps and looking out, coming back down for breakfast with his friends.
 

DannyL

Wild Horses
Hands down one of my favourite books ever. I was turned onto Pynchon by my tantrik guru who was a hod carrier from Oldham. Even having the time to read it flashes me back to an earlier point in my life.... I think I read GR for the second time travelling round Thailand and India, and for a third time on the 73 from Stoke Newington going to work every day when I was back in the Smoke, with this in the other hand: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gravitys-R...s+rainbow+guide&qid=1553895756&s=books&sr=1-2

Some random thoughts off the top of my head - how postmodern it is, with the shifts in register and perspective. Slothrop's story runs as comic backdrop but all the other material is so incredible. Blicero and the mysical cult of the rocket and the weird impressionistic S&M that appears to be going on there - that was some of the stuff I found most striking. The way that was written as dark gothic fantasy offsetting the coour and craziness of the rest of the novel. I don't have a copy at the moment but even thinking about it is making me want to reread.
 
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DannyL

Wild Horses
It was the industrial networks that first really grabbed my attention I think, IG Farben and that interweaving of industry and technological innovation with the mechanics of war. It kinda captures an alternative perspective that makes any kind of attachment or belief in mere terrestrial politics seem profoundly stupid. A perspective I wish I'd keep to. He's hinting at this h the gnostic networks of Lot 49 but I think it comes to full fruition here.

I recall IdleRich saying after watching Tarkovsky's Mirror soemthing like "how could that be made by mortal man?". How on Earth could a single person create something so magnificant, so complex and well conceived. GR is like that for me. How did he do it? What drugs was he on? I guess I should read Slow Learner?

Crap on femaele characters though IIRC? Though I guess there's Opedia Maas in CoL49
 
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Apparently he smoked a lot of weed. There's some story about a guy tracking him down at the time and him having a bin full of it, also Jules Siegel, an old college friend, said he'd told him that he was "so fucked up I can't remember writing some of this stuff".
 
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