Berfrois

P.'s Public Story

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by Albert Rolls

In the essay “Hallowe’en? Over Already?” (1999), Thomas Pynchon writes about some of the fall 1998 goings on at the Cathedral School in New York City, where his son, Jackson, was enrolled in the second grade. They included a picnic[1]; the Blessing of the Animals, which the Pynchons missed that year as they had the year before, at the church associated with the school, the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine; and a field trip to the Tenafly Nature Center, where the second grade observed and were observed by a giant bullfrog, compensation “(sort of)”[2] for missing the elephant’s yearly appearance at the Blessing.[3] Pynchon goes on to recall an “impromptu tour” (1) of the Cathedral that he and his son, along with a number of other children, were treated to the previous year. Under Pynchon’s eye and the children’s curiosity, which had been awakened by the enthusiasm of their tour guide, Gina Bria Vescovi, the church becomes a site of both actual and imaginative exploration, as if it were “a sinister and wonderful Card Table which exhibits the cheaper Wave-like Grain known in the Trade as Wand’ring Heart, causing an illusion of Depth into which for years children have gaz’d as into the illustrated Pages of Books.”[4]

The children’s gazes, of course, had objects less illusionary to explore at the Cathedral than those that can be projected into an eccentric eighteenth-century wood grain. The highlights include “organ consoles, amplifiers, hiding places,” and a “Pentecostal profusion of mini-chapels” (3). The chapels, the guide reveals, were incorporated into the building—the “‘original core’” of which “‘was an orphanage, in the oldest and best sense, a place for people who had nowhere else to go’” (3)—for the benefit of newcomers arriving in the city during the church’s construction, something that ties the architecture of the building to the history of the United States, particularly “the great wave of immigration” (3) around the turn of the century. The setting isn’t completely lacking in illusion: lest we mistake the scene’s interest as simply factual, Pynchon draws his readers’ attention to the nave that seems high enough to accommodate the Statue of Liberty, presumably from the children’s perspective—although the reference to Lady Liberty connects Pynchon’s interest in the Cathedral’s hospitable place in the history of immigration to the children’s wonder—and to a stained-glass window depicting the Titanic in which the children search for Leonardo DiCaprio, perhaps another reference to the United States’ immigrant past, to which DiCaprio’s character in the movie Titanic (1997) would have belonged. Pynchon then turns his focus to spiral staircases that wind up into shadows inaccessible to the public and about which the knowledgeable guide will say nothing except that we wouldn’t believe what was up there. More questioning on Pynchon’s part merely elicits the guide’s mild laughter.

Pynchon is looking forward to revisiting, along with the children, the Cathedral for another tour. Maybe this time he’ll get upstairs, but “with Hallowe’en coming” (3) that might not be the best idea. What’s there? That becomes the question. Playing off the Cathedral tradition of showing classic horror movies during Hallowe’en week and an apparent rumor that a bishop’s ghost haunts the pews—which may be an allusion to the spectacle of “a giant ghost rising from the august tomb of Bishop William Manning” that was an element of the yearly holiday festivities that accompanied the film festival[5]—Pynchon offers the possibility of bats, “vampire bats” (3), or strange people swinging on bell ropes. He concludes by wondering if he should wear his son’s Darth Vader costume from the previous year and carry its light, with new batteries “just in case” (3).

This rare autobiographical essay, written for the sole delight of the Cathedral School community—though it is hard to imagine that Pynchon wasn’t resigned to having copies find their way onto the collector’s market—provides a model, perhaps the best one available at present, for fashioning a biography of Pynchon. One is obliged, after all, to “project a world” or “[i]f not project then at least flash some arrow on the dome to skitter among constellations and trace out your Dragon, Whale, Southern Cross,”[6] even if one also takes part in a metaphorical quest—as Mathew Winston characterizes the process of researching his early biographical essay—analogous to the one Stencil is on in V. (1963). The biographer approaches Pynchon’s life much as Pynchon approaches the Cathedral and the shadows above its spiraled staircases and the space beyond—or the children the objects they come across, particularly the stained-glass picture of the Titanic, a representative example, the reader assumes—developing a text from available information, whether it derives from rumor or more substantial sources. The question one is left asking is not only “What is there to be found?” but also “What shape can be traced over the clusters of information that one finds?”

Consider, for example, the Pynchon anecdotes told by the television producer Deane Rink—who attended Cornell a few years after Pynchon and studied creative writing under Walter Slatoff, with whom Pynchon had also studied. Rink tells his stories as part of an early Web exercise in which he sent emails for publication to the B&R Samizdat Express at the end of 1996, when he was in McMurdo, Antarctica, to work on Live from Antarctica (1997) for PBS productions. Discussing mostly literary figures, Rink turns to Pynchon and the origin of “Mortality and Mercy in Vienna,” which Rink initially mistakes for “Under the Rose,” an error he asks to have corrected in a subsequent email. Claiming Slatoff as his source, Rink writes that in order to ignite an otherwise desultory creative writing class, Slatoff put “a random sentence on the board and ask[ed] everybody in class to start off with that sentence and write for the whole hour. Pynchon refused to turn his paper in at hour’s end, but walked across the hall to the English Dept. office and continued to scribble away for another hour. He finally turned the story in: it was subsequently published in Epoch . . . [and] was anthologized in the Best Short Stories of whatever year that was.” [7]

The anecdote is fascinating, but even if one ignores the confusion over which short story Rink is discussing and which one appeared in Best American Short Stories,[8] one remains unsure of its value as biographical fact. Rink is ad libbing to impress an audience—as Slatoff may well have done to inspire a desultory class in which Rink participated—with what he hopes will be accepted as insider knowledge, something further illustrated by his “revelation” that while V. was Pynchon’s first published novel, The Crying of Lot 49 (1966) was the first to be written, an assertion that leaves one wondering whether Rink had read the second novel, which contains references that clearly place its time of composition after V.’s publication, or, if he had, whether he remembered it. Rink further reveals his desire to impress when he recalls, “Rumor was that he [Pynchon] was offered an instant professorship upon graduation, but turned it down to sell vacuum cleaners in Guadalajara.” The professorship is an embellished characterization of the Wilson Fellowship that Pynchon was offered. It would have obliged him to teach, but he turned it down to focus on his writing. The vacuum-salesman business, by contrast, is obvious fiction, mentioned for its surprise value and perhaps to evince Pynchon’s mysteriousness by leading us to ask: What do we really know about his life? The story also raises a different kind of question, even if Rink never asserts it is true: whose story is it, Rink’s or the Cornell rumor mill’s of the mid-sixties, when, the context suggests, it circulated? Without corroboration from another student of the period, one isn’t inclined to take Rink at his word, but the problem turns out to be more complicated than one would at first imagine.

That wild rumors about Pynchon circulated on the Cornell campus in the 1960s is certainly believable. Even before he became a novelist, John Diebold and Michael Goodwin—both Cornell students in the early 1960s—tell us, Pynchon was a subject of discussion there, “a well-known campus character, respected as much for his adventures with Cornell Folk Song Club president Richard Fariña as for his writing abilities.”[9] The vacuum-salesman story could simply be one of the rumors. Rink, however, isn’t the only one to relate a story about Pynchon being a vacuum salesman, and the source for another one has nothing to do with Cornell campus conjecture. In a review of the Swiss film-makers Donatello and Fosco Dubini’s Journey into the Mind of [P.] (2002), Ron Silliman recalls Mimi Fariña, Richard’s widow, telling him in the early seventies, before the appearance of Gravity’s Rainbow (1973), “Pynchon was . . . selling vacuum cleaners door to door, having exhausted his earnings as a writer,” though Silliman adds, “It was hard to envision then & I still don’t know if Mimi was teasing me.”[10]

Rink could have picked up the notion that Pynchon was a vacuum salesman from someplace other than Cornell—from someone else Mimi or another member of Pynchon’s circle misinformed or from a source further removed—forgotten where he heard the story, and assumed he must have done so while he was in college. Pynchon or someone among his circle could also have heard about the Cornell rumor and decided it would be amusing to spread it beyond the campus community, altering some of its elements to furnish it with an air of credibility, however slight. Other possibilities for where the story originated are imaginable: it is even plausible that Pynchon had something to do with Mimi’s answering inquiries about her late husband’s friend with the absurd notion—that he had provided her with a tale to relate.  At the beginning of his career, he had provided at least one other friend with an absurd tale to pass on, telling Faith Sale, whom he knew from college and who went on to become an editor, including for Pynchon, that in the event any reporters called her in search of information about him, she should “either (a) tell them nothing at all, or (b) better, tell them something far out, like I am a Negro living in Ft. Wayne with my grandmother and keeping her in narcotics by working as a freelance jobber in auto accessories. And very fat, though I subsist on nothing but saki [sic] and raw Brussels sprouts.”[11]

If his suggestion to Sale or his considering telling Who’s Who “that he was born in Mexico, that his parents were Irving Pynchon and Guadalupe Ibarguengotia and that he was ‘named Exotic Dancers Man of the Year in 1957’ and ‘regional coordinator for the March of Edsel Owners on Washington (MEOW) in 1961’”[12] is any indication, Pynchon has toyed with the possibilities his approach to publicity offered throughout his career. And he, at least occasionally, has taken on a role similar to the one Ms. Vescovi assumes on the Cathedral tour when dealing with the space above the spiral stairs, that is, serving as the unforthcoming, amused guide. For instance, he wrote, or is believed to have written, to the Soho Weekly News to say “Not bad, keep trying,”[13] after it published, in 1976, John Calvin Batchelor’s “Thomas Pynchon Is Not Thomas Pynchon,” an article in which Batchelor claimed “Thomas Pynchon” was a pseudonym that J.D. Salinger had assumed.[14] In 2004 Pynchon appeared on the Simpsons, making fun of his reputation for reclusiveness: “Hey, over here! Have your picture taken with a reclusive author! Today only, we’ll throw in a free autograph! But wait, there’s more!” More recently, he, at the very least, authorized having a character nicknamed Sleazus in the book trailer for Bleeding Edge (2013) wear a T-shirt that says, “Hi, I’m Tom Pynchon,”[15] and allowed Penguin to produce a T-shirt to promote the novel that says, “Hi I’m Thomas Pynchon.”

Beyond his novels, Pynchon has more often addressed the public with silence—nonetheless insisting in a 1978 letter to Candida Donadio, “As for spilling my life story, I try to do that all the time. Nobody ever wants to listen for some strange reason.”[16]  The record has, as a result, become colored by “gossip about girlfriends, drug use, favorite TV programs and pig fetishes, and trivia about eating habits and clothing preferences,”[17] as John Krafft writes. The portrait of Pynchon that the biographer can sketch is, therefore, a mixture of rumor and fact, both of which are a part of the story of the public figure Pynchon has simultaneously become and avoided being and thus are important to understanding the making of Thomas Pynchon. The Dubinis approach Pynchon from such a perspective, the bracketed “P.” of their film’s title representing not so much Pynchon as the collective body of those who have taken to fashioning stories around his absence and who often, for example on the Pynchon e-mail list, use the shorthand “P” for his name. The film is intent on illustrating the semi-fictional nature of its P., calling attention to contradictions that are a product of the lack of a public story about Pynchon: text that flashes on the screen, for example, states that Pynchon’s whereabouts and marital status are unknown shortly before the now inactive Pynchomane Richard Lane mentions Pynchon’s wife and child and the London Times’s James Bone discusses his finding out where Pynchon lives via the Internet in the late ’90s. Truth is in some cases beside the point. The late Stephen Tomaske reveals that his interest in pursuing his biographical research was spurred by his being told an “urban legend” of Pynchon, a tale about his hiding inside a casket to avoid photographers while getting into Bob Dylan’s wedding. Lane, near the movie’s beginning, even posits that there are two Pynchons, the private man who “drinks his coffee” in the morning, a characterization that is, paradoxically, a conjecture on Lane’s part, and the figure who inhabits the minds of his cultish fans.[18]

Pynchon seems to have obliquely played with the two-Pynchons idea when John Larroquette sent him for review the script of “Newcomer,” the December 7, 1993, episode of The John Larroquette Show in which references to Pynchon play a part. In the episode, Daryl Mitchell’s character, Dexter Walker, who operates the lunch counter in the St. Louis bus station where the show is set, casually remarks to Larroquette’s character, John Hemingway, that he is friends with Pynchon, whom Hemingway admires. After looking at the script, Pynchon, through his agent and wife, Melanie Jackson, told Don Reo, the show’s head writer at the time, that the script calls “him Tom, and no one ever calls him Tom,”[19] which the evidence suggests those on first-name terms with him do call him and which he regularly uses when signing personal letters.[20] Those who we can assume don’t generally call him “Tom” are outside his circle of family, friends, and publishing contacts. Pynchon seems to have wanted the Pynchon figure mentioned on the show to refer not to Tom, the physical person, but to Pynchon as idea, which would explain why “Pynchon refused . . . to let a Larroquette extra, in a plaid shirt, be videotaped from the rear and represented as Pynchon. ‘He asked us not to pretend he was in the environment at all,’ Larroquette said.”[21]  The discussion of Pynchon on the show is therefore confined to that of a former presence—his appearance the previous night, when he visited Dexter, wearing, it is said, a T-shirt bearing an image of Roky Ericson, the musician whom Pynchon requested be used instead of Willy Deville as the script had originally called for—and of his work, an imaginary novel that Pynchon asked to have called Pandemonium of the Sun, a phrase taken from Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian (1985).[22]

To divide Tom the man from Pynchon the idea for biographical purposes, however, is to risk the folly in which Lane indulges in Journey into the Mind of [P.], particularly when he speculates that Pynchon was on the bus Lee Harvey Oswald took from Houston, Texas, to Mexico City on September 26, 1963,[23] about a month after Pynchon served as best man at Richard Fariña and Mimi Baez’s wedding on August 21, 1963.  Lane never offers an explanation for why Pynchon would travel from California to Texas to return to Mexico rather than take a bus from Pacific Grove, to which he had traveled from Mexico City in August.[24] Lane admits that he is offering nothing more than “ridiculous rumor,” a description he quickly recasts as “ridiculous speculation,” apparently to indicate that the story is his own, but he also conjectures that Pynchon’s “secret,” his reason for avoiding the press, involves the conversation he had with Oswald. “This is the kind of fun people like me can have,” Lane then says. But the speculation isn’t simply ridiculous; it ignores the record, even as it existed at the time of the film’s making. Pynchon had already begun his famed avoidance of the media before Oswald went to Mexico, as George Plimpton, a literary journalist, and Jules Siegel, a former friend, point out in the film just after Lane’s speculation. There is no reasonable way to place Pynchon on a bus with Oswald, despite Lane’s insistence that connections can be forged even if the words we have don’t imply them, or to attribute Pynchon’s desire for privacy to a meeting between him and Kennedy’s assassin. Indeed, it has more recently been revealed that Pynchon headed further north after Fariña’s wedding, meeting up with friends from Cornell, Mary Ann Tharaldsen and David Seidler, in Berkeley, where he remained until “shortly after John F. Kennedy was assassinated.”[25] Pynchon might observe of Lane’s speculation: “Opera librettos, movies and television drama are allowed to get away with all kinds of errors in detail. Too much time in front of the Tube and a writer [or biographical researcher, it turns out] can get to believing the same thing. . . . The lesson here, obvious but now and then overlooked, is just to corroborate one’s data.”[26]

The lack of data to corroborate is what those such as Lane believe gives them the liberty to spin tales, acknowledge the likelihood of their fictitiousness, and then build upon them as if they were plausible, creating, in effect, the Tom/Thomas division. That division is again brought to the fore in Bleeding Edge’s promotional T-shirts—the one in the video and the one handed out to people—apparently to satirize attempts to remove “Tom,” or the idea of him, from the public sphere altogether. Those wearing the shirts are obviously not Pynchon, but only one shirt, the one that Sleazus wears, has the name “Tom” on it, perhaps drawing attention to the fictional quality of even the private figure as perceived by the public, especially because the character wearing the shirt bears absolutely no resemblance to the person the public imagines Pynchon to be.[27] Still, who he is could be, as far as we can really know, far different from anything we have imagined. He is often called a recluse, a word that invariably gets used to describe him in newspaper and magazine articles, despite his discounting the label when he was drawn into speaking with CNN, in 1997, after the network caught him on film and threatened to point out who he was on the air: “My belief,” he said “is that ‘recluse’ is a code word generated by journalists .  .  . meaning, ‘doesn’t like to talk to reporters.’”[28] Who, we might ask, is the recluse? Certainly not Tom: some of those belonging to his circle of friends are well known; he was “rarely without a girlfriend for the 30 years”[29] before he got married; and he has lived with his wife for almost 25 years and with their son for at least 18 of those. Reclusiveness is a quality publicly attributed to Pynchon, not embraced by him.[30]  The recluse of Pynchon’s story is not Tom but Thomas Pynchon, the public figure and the name on the promotional-campaign shirts that were handed out to people, whom we presumably are to see as his fans and whose ideas about him could be as varied as their faces.

Bleeding Edge’s publicity campaign, then, can be said to be, in part, about the public effect of the strategies Pynchon employs to ensure his privacy, adding an extra level of relevance to its promotional value in that both the video and the novel serve as meta-commentaries to the aspect of Pynchon’s career in which they participate. The novel at at least one point turns to a consideration of Pynchon’s own fiction, specifically V. (1963), reworking what Pynchon likely now regards as a flaw. In his first novel, Pynchon had drawn on Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story to portray New York,[31] an approach to establishing an accurate view of the city comparable to his using, in “The Small Rain,” a “uniform service accent” as a Southern accent and failing to realize that “people spoke in a wide number of quite different accents” throughout the South (4, SL). Bleeding Edge offers a correction to the earlier novel’s use of Bernstein’s work, imagining a musical of his set in New York’s upper west side—“not West Side Story, the other one” (55)—that tells the story of the neighborhood from a different perspective. It features Robert Moses, the urban planner called, in New York, the “master builder,”[32] singing,

Throw those Puerto
Ricans out in the
Street—It’s just a
Slum, Tear it all
d-o-o-own! (55–56).

The New York of West Side Story, as well as the elements of V. that drew upon it, was one that the city had rejected and that had been reconstructed and, in the process, translated into a more acceptable form, for the sake of the musical. And when they transformed the story for the movie—expanding the influence of its representation—“They even had the chutzpah to actually film . . . in the same neighborhood they were destroying” (56), that is, while the city was uprooting “7000 boricua families” (55) to make way for Lincoln Center.

If Pynchon has been telling his life story all along, as he told Donadio he was, he has been doing it mostly through his fiction, so such indirectly autobiographical moments as Bleeding Edge’s discussion of West Side Story, the significance of which to the book and its author is highlighted by the fact that Sleazus sings the imaginary Robert Moses’ song in the book trailer, take on greater importance to the biographer. One of the best known examples of Pynchon’s splicing autobiographical elements into the fiction is his basing the history of William Slothrop, Tyrone Slothrop’s ancestor in Gravity’s Rainbow (1973), on the history of William Pynchon so that Slothrop’s family history parallels Pynchon’s own. Autobiographical details are widespread in the fiction and are integrated into it in much more subtle ways. Andrew Gordon calls attention to one of the ways, as well as to the difficulty of perceiving what those details reveal. Paraphrasing a woman he knew while he was in graduate school who later described herself as an ex-lover of Pynchon’s, Gordon writes, “he was working [in the mid-60s] on an endless novel [Gravity’s Rainbow, one assumes] in which all of his friends would appear, including her.” Gordon goes on to write, ‘If there is ever a biography of Pynchon, someone should investigate that angle,” but then remarks, “I once combed through Gravity, searching for the character who is supposed to be her; there are just too many, and I couldn’t be sure.”[33] If someone who knew one of the people who allegedly appears in the novel is unable to determine which character corresponds to the woman he knew,[34] how is a biographer, now more than forty years after the book was published, to identify the people the characters are based on? Still, Gordon is correct to ask biographers to become attuned to the autobiographical aspects of the fictional oeuvre. The fiction is as integral to the Pynchon narrative to which they are trying to give shape as any of the other data they come across.

Images via Pynchon in Public

Essay is a work in progress chapter entitled “Thomas Pynchon: Fictional Autobiography and Biographical Fiction” from The Making of Thomas Pynchon due in 2014.


Notes:

I’d like to thank John Krafft for his generous editorial advice.

[1] Paul Royster’s description of the essay as “a 500-word article on [Pynchon’s] son’s school Halloween picnic,” information taken from the rare-bookseller Ken Lopez’s Catalogue 135 or 139, is inaccurate.  The picnic, mentioned at the beginning of the introductory paragraph, is only touched upon briefly and does not appear to have had anything to do with Hallowe’en, which had yet to arrive, suggesting the essay was written in mid-October. The picnic could have been as early as September, relating perhaps to the beginning of the school year. The Blessing of the Animals, mentioned right after the picnic, is held the first Sunday of October each year, and the trip to the Tenafly Nature Center took place, and is discussed, after the Blessing. The sequence suggests a progression of events from picnic, to missed Blessing, to field trip, and the “Over Already” of the title must therefore reference the date not of composition but of publication, January 1999, adding a note of disappointment to the essay, maybe because the second tour of the Cathedral did not take place.

[2] “Hallowe’en? Over Already?,” 1. Further references will be cited parenthetically.

[3] The elephant had been a fixture of the Blessing for years; it was missing in 2011, “the elephant that normally came ha[ving] died.” See Paz.

[4] Mason & Dixon, 1.

[5] Bell.

[6] Crying of Lot 49, 82.

[7] Rink.

[8] “Entropy” appeared in the Best American Short Stories in 1961; “Mortality and Mercy in Vienna,” while it never appeared in the Best American Short Stories, did receive an honorable mention in that publication in 1960.

[9] Diebold and Goodwin.

[10] Silliman.

[11] Letter to Faith and Kirkpatrick Sale, June 2, 1963.

[12] Gussow.

[13] Quoted in Tanner, 18.

[14] Batchelor later acknowledged that Salinger was not Pynchon. See Alexander, 254–56. Coincidently, Batchelor’s son attended the Cathedral School at the same time as Pynchon’s son, and an essay by Batchelor appears next to the latter part of “Hallowe’en? Over Already?” on page 3 of the January 1999 Cathedral Newsletter.

[15] Bleeding Eddge Book Trailer, http://vimeo.com/73716114.

[16] Gussow.

[17] Krafft, 12.

[18] That Pynchon is, or was, a coffee drinker, seems a safe conjecture. Christine Wexler, in her contribution to the Pynchon List published by Jules Siegel in Lineland, recalls a collection of “four hundred coffee cans” (53) in Pynchon’s apartment in Manhattan Beach in the late ’60s, a details also alluded to by Siegel in his famous Playboy article, “Who Is Thomas Pynchon . . . And Why Did He Take Off With My Wife?,” where he notes the brand was Hills Brothers (rpt. in Lineland, where the title is given as “Who is Thomas Pynchon . . . And Why Is He Taking Off With My Wife,” 91.)

[19] Sales, 63.

[20] See the letters at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin.

[21] Williams.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Lane says in late September or October; I take the date from The Warren Commission Report, 323.

[24] See Hajdu,

[25] Kachka.

[26] Slow Learner, 16.

[27] A version of the character more aligned to the public’s perception of Pynchon would likely leave audiences wondering if the video were some sort of self-revelation.

[28] The footage did appear on CNN, but Pynchon was not identified.

[29] Kachka.

[30] Pynchon, at least once, described his living condition as that of a recluse, noting in his June 2, 1963, letter to Faith Sale, “one of the advantages in being a recluse is that you can make your own plans, and barring war or natural catastrophe, comply with them.”  At the time, Pynchon was living alone, and the plans he was discussing involved visiting Faith and Kirk Sale, her husband and Pynchon’s friend, in Ghana, where the two were headed. Pynchon’s time alone came to an end when Tharaldsen arrived in Mexico and his life at the end of the year or the beginning of the following one. If he had been serious about visiting Ghana, her arrival disrupted the freedom he had had to make his own plans. See Kachka for the Pynchon-Tharaldsen relationship.

[31] Henry Veggian notes, for example, “when Benny [Profane] first arrives in New York  . . . scenes from Bernstein’s ‘West Side Story’” (226n298) are repeated.

[32] See Gratz, 132.

[33] Gordon.

[34] Gordon dates his meeting of the woman sometime in the fall of 1966 and his meeting of Pynchon in June of 1967, a few years after Pynchon began the novel—if he began it shortly after V.’s publication, as is widely believed—and around the time he signed the contract for it with Viking. For the date of the contract, January 24, 1967, see Howard.

Bibliography:

Alexander, Paul. Salinger: A Biography. New York: Macmillan, 2000.

Bell, Bill. (1996, October 30). “A Blessing In Disguise: Ghoul Fest At Cathedral Raises The

Dread.”  Daily News. http://articles.nydailynews.com/1996-10-        30/entertainment/18012060_1_largest-cathedral-dr-caligari-silent-film, accessed 2012-12-8.

“Diatribe of a Mad Housewife.” (2004, January 25). The Simpsons.

Diebold, John and Michael Goodwin. “Introduction,” Babies of Wackiness: A Readers’ Guide to

Thomas Pynchon’s Vineland, http://www.mindspring.com/~shadow88/intro.htm, accessed 2012-5-9

Dubini, Donatello and Fosco. (2002). Journey into the Mind of [P.].

Gordon, Andrew. (1994) “Smoking Dope with Thomas Pynchon: A Sixties Memoir.” The Vineland Papers:  Critical Takes on Pynchon’s Novel. Ed. Geoffrey Green, Donald J. Greiner, and Larry McCaffery. Normal, IL:  Dalkey Archive Press:  167–78, rpt. http://cl49.pynchonwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=Smoking_Dope_with_Thomas_Pynchon, accessed 2013-11-20.

Gratz, Roberta Brandes. (2010). The Battle for Gotham: New York in the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs. New York: Nation Books.

Gussow, Mel. (1998, March 04). “Pynchon’s Letters Nudge His Mask”. New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/1998/03/04/books/pynchon-s-letters-nudge-his-  mask.html?pagewanted=all, accessed 2012-01-04.

Hajdu, David. Positively 4th Street: The Lives and Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Fariña and Richard Farina. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2001.

Howard, Gerald. “From A to V,” BookForum (Summer 2005): http://www.bookforum.com/archive/sum_05/pynchon.html, accessed 08/11/2012.

Kachka, Boris. “On the Thomas Pynchon Trail: From the Long Island of His Boyhood to the ‘Yupper West Side’ of His New Novel,” New York

Ken Lopez’s Catalogue 135. http://lopezbooks.com/catalog/135/static/?page=8&refp=3, accessed 2012-12-8

Ken Lopez’s Catalogue 139. http://lopezbooks.com/catalog/139/static/?page=4&refp=2, accessed 2012-12-8

Krafft, John. (2012). “Biographical Note.” The Cambridge Companion to Thomas Pynchon. Ed.

Inger H. Dalsgaard et al. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 9–16.

Paz, “Blessing of the Animals 2011.” (2011). Paz’s New York Minute. http://www.pazsnewyorkminute.com/2011/10/blessing-of-the-animals-2011/, accessed 2012-12-8.

Pynchon, Thomas. (1963, June 2). Letter to Faith and Kirkpatrick Sale. Harry Ransom

Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin.

——. The Crying of Lot 49. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1966.

——. Slow Learner 1984

——. Mason & Dixon. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1997.

——. “Hallowe’en? Over Already?” Cathedral School Newsletter, January 1999 1 & 3.

Rink, Dean. (1996, November 17). “Dialogue on favorite books with Deane Rink, Part 2.” The B&R Samizdat Express. http://www.samizdat.com/rink2.html, accessed 2012-20-8.

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About the Author:

Albert Rolls is an independent writer, scholar and researcher. He is also Editor-in-Chief at AMS Press.