Anybody who loves the writing of Thomas Pynchon should hie them here and read what Gerald Howard has to say about Gravity’s Rainbow: the experience of falling on it with anticipation in 1973 (“clearly someone at that publishing house understood the impecunious nature of the Pynchon audience, I noted gratefully”—I felt the same way!) and finding it even better than expected, then the discoveries made on going to work as an assistant editor at Viking Penguin:

One Friday in summer 2004, I spent a memorable afternoon in the half-deserted offices of Viking Penguin going through the thick editorial file for Gravity’s Rainbow. There was in this experience the poignance of office technologies past (carbons, telegrams, memos typed on manual typewriters) and the names of the distinguished departed—from Malcolm Cowley, Viking’s longtime literary adviser, to other colleagues, mentors, and friends. But there was also the sheer fascination of peering behind the curtain like Dorothy to discover how the levers had been pulled to launch one of the most consequential novels of the twentieth century.

I envy the man, and I thank him for sharing his knowledge with us. I also thank the estimable Matt for bringing the piece to my attention. Now I know what I’m going to (re)read after Mason & Dixon


  1. Thnaks, el chapeau!
    “I draw on our shared literary tutorials to this day.” – hee hee!

  2. Брайко Мыків says

    Hmm… Shouldn’t they hie them *hither*? Or had *hither* already begun falling out of use in Shakespeare’s time?

  3. You’re probably right. If only I were Shakespeare I’d be more consistent about these things (and this blog would be appearing in folio…).

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