The Crying of Lot 49 and the Parody of Detective Fiction

Borys Róg

Abstract


The Crying of Lot 49, recognized as an important example of postmodern fiction, is a novella by an American author Thomas Pynchon. It follows the story of Oedipa Maas, who encounters a possible underground conspiracy related to postal services. Its themes and structural properties suggest affinities with a detective story genre, although there are crucial differences which actually mark the novel as a parody of the genre. In my article I want to analyze two elements which contribute to the parodic nature of The Crying of Lot 49. One is the wide use of various cultural references to the popular culture, history, American society etc.; they are usually satirized by the author as to what contributes to the overall sense of a parody. The second contributes directly to the reversed structure of a detective fiction; the use of entropy as the plot device distorts the unraveling mystery in the novel. Moreover, the reading of the novel as a parody in terms of the characteristics listed above justifies its reputation as a postmodern text.

 


Keywords


Pynchon, Postmodernism, parody, detective fiction

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17951/nh.2017.2.59
Data publikacji: 2017-08-17 12:08:48
Data złożenia artykułu: 2017-08-17 11:07:46

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