Approaches to Teaching Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49 and Other Works

  • Editor: Thomas H. Schaub
  • Pages: xiii & 195 pp.
  • Published: 2008
  • ISBN: 9780873528146 (Paperback)
  • ISBN: 9780873528139 (Cloth)
Approaches to Teaching Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49 and Other Works Cover

“This helpful volume will benefit all who engage with Pynchon’s work. Highly recommended.”


“Highly recommended for college library literary studies collections.”

Midwest Book Review

As teachers well know, the elements that make Thomas Pynchon exciting to read and study—the historical references, the multilayered prose, and the postmodern integration of high and low cultures and science and literature—often constitute hurdles to undergraduate and graduate readers alike. The essays gathered in this volume turn these classroom challenges into assets, showing instructors how to make the narratives’ frustration of reader expectations not only intellectually rewarding but also part of the joy of reading The Crying of Lot 49, Gravity’s Rainbow, Mason & Dixon, and other Pynchon works, short and long.

Like all volumes in the Approaches to Teaching series, the collection opens with a survey of original and supplementary materials. The essays that follow offer an array of classroom techniques: among them, ways to contextualize the novels in their historical settings, from Puritan America through World War II and the volatile 1960s; to use the texts to explore racial and gender politics and legacies of colonialism; and to make Pynchon’s elaborate prose style accessible to students. Teachers will also find sample syllabi for courses solely on Pynchon as well as suggestions for incorporating his work into graduate and undergraduate classrooms at a range of institutions.

Hanjo Berressem
David Cowart
Inger H. Dalsgaard
Amy J. Elias
Norbert Finzsch
Michael Harris
Luc Herman
Molly Hite
Zofia Kolbuszewska
Deborah L. Madsen
Robert L. McLaughlin
Alan Nadel
Stacey Olster
Alison T. J. Preston
Mark Rohland
Todd Rohman
Gary Thompson
Jerry Varsava
Robert N. Watson
Steven Weisenburger