The 1963 publication of Thomas Pynchon’s V. changed the landscape of American fiction. Becoming Pynchon: Genetic Narratology and V. offers a detailed examination of the dramatic transformations that took place as Pynchon’s foundational novel went from typescript to published work. Luc Herman and John M. Krafft develop and deploy a rich theory of genetic narratology to examine the performance of genre in the novel. Pushing back against the current dominance of cognitive narratology, they discuss focalization, character construction, and evocation of consciousness as clues to Pynchon’s developing narratology of historical fiction. Their theoretical interventions offer an important and timely corrective to the field of narratology with a method that brings the author back into the analytical frame.
Herman and Krafft use as their guide the typescript of V. that surfaced in 2001, when it was acquired by the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, as well as Pynchon’s editorial correspondence with Corlies Smith, his first editor at J. B. Lippincott. Becoming Pynchon assembles a comprehensive and unequaled picture of Pynchon’s writing process that will appeal both to Pynchonians and to postmodernism scholars more broadly.