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burlapmellish's avatar

Why don't women like Pynchon?

Asked by burlapmellish (110points) December 11th, 2006
I've met two females who express a positive opinion of Thomas Pynchon's work. I spend a lot of time with literary types so it's not just a limited sample.
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4 Answers

lily's avatar
I'm a woman and i love him. i dont think its something you can divide along gender lines.
DB_Cooper's avatar

I’ve only read V. and The Crying of Lot 49, but it seems his female characters aren’t very developed. There is always some underlying paranoia in most of his characters, and one could say that it is a conscious choice by Pynchon to shield their true selves from the reader. However, I don’t subscribe to that school of thought, just a minor weakness from an American master.

Svidrigailov's avatar

I do tend to encounter less women that enjoy Pynchon and other writers I think of as profoundly masculine, like Lawrence Durrell or Henry Miller. More and more, though, gender studies are revealing that there is no connection between sex and preference. That is to say, a little girl is just as likely to wanna play cops and robbers as a little boy – it’s subtle societal expectations of what is considered feminine that cause her to opt for dolls. That taken into account, I would say that as societal gender programming in children becomes less prevalent (as I truly hope it does), girls will be more inclined to appreciate all things traditionally considered masculine and vice versa.

Here’s a review of a book on the subject:

As to why his writing appeals more to male audiences, I would offer that it has more to do with topical issues than the ways in which women are represented in his novels. War, espionage, male bonding and sexual identity, etc. have historically fallen into the realm of the masculine.

That said, as a woman, I find his work brilliant and fascinating, though, like most people, it took me a few goes before I managed to finish Gravity’s Rainbow.

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