A Free Spirit Of Rebellion, Mason And Dixon Show Flashbacks In Vineland

1806 words - 8 pages

Vineland is set in California in 1984, the year of Ronald Reagan’s reelection. The story details the free spirit of rebellion of that decade through flashbacks by its characters. The novel describes the traits of the fascistic Nixonian repression and its War on Drugs that occurred in U.S. society from the 1960s to the 1980s. “The central quest is that of a daughter for her absent mother, and while the process by which the two are united involves an impressive accumulation of information about international corporate practices and structures, the history of the Left in California, the effects of Reaganomics and the War on Drugs, and the popular culture of the 1980s, there are no epistemological impasses or withheld revelations” (Hite 719).
Mason & Dixon concentrates on the collaboration of the historical Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon in their astronomical and surveying exploits in Cape Colony, Great Britain. Against the Day is a historical novel which narrates the Chicago World’s Fair that took place between 1893 and the time immediately following the First World War. It is an example of historiographic metafiction and the longest of Pynchon's novels containing 1,085 pages. Even if Thomas Pynchon, author, has ‘died’ to the public, he has ‘bequeathed on his incomparable texts’.
The practice of writing metafiction was not only familiar in America but also in England. Commenting on the British postmodernism, A.S.D. Pillai states that the “British novelist’s tryst with Post-Modernist experimentation in general has not been as brilliant and engaging as the American’s is the near consensus view among critics. This notwithstanding Bradbury’s contention that some of the established novelists like Angus Wilson in No Laughing Matter (1967), and Iris Murdoch in Under the Net (1954) have taken to the Post-Modernist vein already in the late fifties and that there has been ever since comparable British engagement with experimentation as evidenced in the work of writers like John Fowles (The French Lieutenant’s Woman 1969), Doris Lessing (The Golden Notebook 1962), B.S. Johnson (Albert Angelo 1964), and Murial Spark (The Driver’s Seat 1970)” (67-68).
The tension between satisfying our credulity and satisfying our skepticism, as David Lodge puts it – differently energises each of Fowles’s first three novels. Realism can also be seen as an ancestrally impure and precautious synthesis of history, romance and allegory; and from this point of view character is the problematising of the relations between its consistent parts that characterize much contemporary British fiction including Fowles’s. The formal agony and hesitation co-exist; with immense formal energy and inventiveness in problematic fictions such as Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook, Augus Wilson’s No Laughing Matters and differently in Iris Murdock’s The Black Prince as well as Fowles’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman. These novels carry the currently inescapable and romance theories of...

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