The religious and political vision of Pynchon's Against the Day

Kathryn Hume

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The postmodern Pynchon of infinite ambiguity gives way to one with fairly explicit religious and political messages in Against the Day. While Buddhism, Islam, Orphic values, and Kabbalism are present, Pynchon foregrounds Christianity and specifically Catholicism. This novel also offers a more than ever before overt political program: Luddite violence against capitalism. The spiritual spectrum he favors runs from entering a convent, to his via media (Keep cool, but care!), to destroying capitalist infrastructure. His dynamiter, Webb Traverse, is treated as a kind of Labor saint, a martyr for a moral cause. In addition to the religious and political messages, Pynchon pushes constantly against a materialist concept of reality by using voices, mystic visions, magic, and all kinds of violations of consensus reality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-187
Number of pages25
JournalPhilological Quarterly
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • History
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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