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Reviewed by: Cheryl LaGuardia, Research Librarian, Widener Library, Harvard University
Orbit: Writing Around Pynchon publishes scholarly papers about the works of Thomas Pynchon and related authors in 20th- and 21st-century literature. Editor-suggested possible topics for papers include: comparative studies with related authors, novel theoretical contexts for Pynchon’s work, Pynchon’s literary influence, biographical criticism, Transatlantic/Transpacific connections, the Great American Novel, historiographic meta-/historical fiction, political implications of Pynchon and his contemporaries’ work, gender and sexuality in Pynchon, Pynchon’s publishing process/archival work and source materials, Pynchon’s music and songs, the shape and/or phases of Pynchon’s career and its evolving contexts, and the Pynchon scholarly community itself, including online developments (eg. P-Wiki, PYNCHON-L).
The journal is published in a rolling format to provide authors with faster publication, and several special issues (a Don DeLillo Special Issue and a David Foster Wallace Special Issue) are in process. Onscreen lists of Latest Articles and Popular Articles provide immediate access to selected content, while the Content tab of the journal provides access to articles as they are published, as well as to an Issue Archive. There’s also an extensive Research Integrity section to the journal, noting that “All articles submitted to Ubiquity Press journals are automatically screened for plagiarism by the CrossCheck system from CrossRef,” and covering related issues such as peer review, open licenses, repositing research data, etc.
The latest issue available for review, Volume 3, Issue 1 (2015), offers two articles: “The Hyperobject's Atomization of "Self" in Gravity's Rainbow” and” Pre Cold War British Spy Fiction, the “albatross of self” and lines of flight in Gravity’s Rainbow,” along with four reviews (of Simon Malpas’ and Andrew Taylor’s Thomas Pynchon, Evans Lansing Smith’s Thomas Pynchon and the Postmodern Mythology of the Underworld, Scott McClintock’s and John Miller’s Pynchon’s California, and Stefano Ercolino’s The Maximalist Novel: From Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow to Roberto Bolãno’s 2666. Past issues have held such articles as, ‘“Sell Out With Me Tonight”: Popular Music, Commercialization and Commodification in Vineland, The Crying of Lot 49, and V,” “To Cry from Within or Without? Pynchon and the Modern – Postmodern Divide,” and ‘“The movies had not prepared him for this Teutonic version here”: The Significance of the Hansel and Gretel Fairy Tale in Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow.”
The content here is of the highest quality, as are the online production values, and whether you agree with Harold Bloom that Pynchon’s novels are “very difficult pleasures,” or with the 1974 Pulitzer Prize committee that found Gravity’s Rainbow “turgid,” “overwritten,” and “unreadable,” you will want to delve into this journal if you are seriously interested in 20th century – and beyond! literature.