Martin Paul Eve presenting an early draft version of a paper on Pynchon and Foucault at Durham University, April, 2011.
In the period spanning 2004 to 2006, Foucault remained, according to the Social Sciences Citation Index, the most frequently cited post-World War II scholar. Despite this, there is a growing trend of wariness toward the "F word", reflected strongly in Pynchon studies: whereas other authors have had hugely specific Foucauldian readings, Pynchon has not. Indeed, amid criticism of the "paltry assaults of Foucault and the critical theorists a generation ago" (Strandberg), there are only two journal articles and an extremely small section of Hanjo Beressem's book on Pynchon and Theory addressing this topic. This is especially strange given that, according to Michèle Lamont's detailed bibliometrical analysis of citations on Jacques Derrida within the field of Stateside literary studies – an area which, citation-wise, fits closely with Michel Foucault's rise to prominence – the period marking the true turning point is 1970-1973; a precise fit with the publication date of Gravity's Rainbow.
In this paper, I will give an overview of my work in progress which conducts a revisionist account of the merit of reading Foucault with Pynchon. Far from leaving "Foucault and Pynchon to their respective silences" (McConnell) I will demonstrate that, in the late Foucault's retroactive affinity with the Frankfurt School, many aspects of his thought are more closely aligned with Pynchon that might have been previously suspected.
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