thomas pynchon Archive

“Cow Country” And The Problem With Pseudonyms

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A recent post on the Harper’s blog has gotten me thinking about pseudonyms. In it, Art Winslow posits that a new novel, Cow Country, from an obscure vanity press was actually authored by Thomas Pynchon under the pseudonym Adrian Jones Pearson. As evidence, Winslow points to certain aesthetic similarities

A White Man Used An Asian Woman’s Name To Publish A Poem. Does That Change The Poem? Yes: A Brown Man Explains

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By now you’ve probably read about the 2015 Best American Poetry scandal. For the uninitiated, the story goes like this: the anthology comes out with a contributor note by the editor, Sherman Alexie, which states that one of the poets included in the anthology, Yi-Fen Chou, is actually the

A Knack for Names

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I once read (though the source is now lost to me) that the names of the characters in a novel do the work of telling the reader what world he’s in. Musicality, characterization, hints at a character’s gender, ethnicity, and social status—all of these are important in a name.

Harper Lee and the Politics of Genius in Today’s Age

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The intensity of the reaction to news of beloved author Harper Lee publishing a sequel to her masterpiece, To Kill A Mockingbird, is ironic, given the very reasons we thought we’d never see this day come: Lee often proclaimed that her first book had said all she wanted to say,

A World of My Own

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When I was a kid, I would spend hours drawing maps of fictional towns. Sometimes, it would start with a river running down the page; other times, a mountain. Each street I added carried a name. Construction would continue over time: homes, schools, hospitals, even sport stadiums (Melville, home