Half of Daniel Adler‘s college thesis was that Gravity’s Rainbow is the postmodern novel. In 1973, it epitomized a new form and style. Its allusiveness was sporadic and overwhelming and Pynchon’s understanding of life and ability to form stories remains admirable.
But when all is said and done, Pynchon was born in 1937. He grew up during WWII and the end of the modernist movement. The War was of a different era.
DFW on the other hand, born in 1962, was raised during the mind-numbing suburban expansion of the 1970s. He saw the “Me generation” rise, flower, and die. And Infinite Jest is a tribute to the future of the world he knew.
With the publishing of The Pale King, DFW’s career is over. We can begin to evaluate him with regard to the masters. Fifteen years have passed since the publishing of Infinite Jest, enough time to think about how its grandiose muscles have flexed even harder since his suicide.
The footnotes are what make this book representative of postmodernism. Gravity’s Rainbow is dazzling, but easy to misunderstand and get lost in. Infinite Jest is incredibly dense and packed with information. All of the allusions are explained in incredible detail. With the existence of the internet, DFW was able to include all the research and simulate how future earthlings would acquire information.
How long until DFW shows up on college sylllabi?