The Crying of Lot 49 Obs

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Novel vs. Story

This seems to be the place to note something Pynchon has written — in Slow Learner, the introduction — about this work. He wrote there, in talking about his early stories that his next story The Crying of Lot 49 was marketed as a novel....

Given Pynchon's care with concepts, this distinction seems worth keeping in mind. Stories meant, usually, to be taken in "all at once", in one reading, novels not. Stories much more focussed on a single theme usually; novels full of many themes.

Pynchon's words have made me think about his lifelong theme of crossing boundaries, of seeing boundaries as artificial, man-made — Mason & Dixon, most thoroughly. Boundaries such as those between story and novel.

As a "story" to get a kind of unitary impression, is how I have seen Harold Bloom's remark on reading The Crying of Lot 49. Read it again immediately, he avers. Its meaning(s) are very mysterious, we might all agree.

High Magic to low puns

. . . .She knew that the sailor had seen worlds no other man had seen if only because there was that high magic to low puns, because DT's must give access to dt's of spectra beyond the known sun, music made purely of Antarctic loneliness and fright. . . .

The High Magic of Angelic Language must be declaimed---Cried is one way to put it---very carefully, with a great and awful caution. . . .

The Word must be spoken with the greatest imaginable specificity:

. . . .The second section is my attempt to rewrite the Calls into some sort of standardized, readable phonetic system. One thing became evident in this process: the pronunciation guide given by Donald Laycock in his Complete Enochian Dictionary is the closest thing to Dee's notes I've seen so far. . . .
. . . .The angels themselves are no help here:
Dee: I pray you, is Mozod a word of three letters, or of five?
Nalvage: In wrote three, it is larger extended. [Dee- Z extended is Zod.]
Dee: Will you pardon me if I ask you another question of this extension?
Nal.: Say on: Moz in itself signifieth Joy; but Mozod extended, signifieth the Joy of God
(Causabon, A True and Faithful Relation..., p. 75). . . .

Of course, taking these concepts a touch closer to terra firma we note that a glossary for The Crying of Lot 49 that would fold in a pronounciation guide will give us a lot of sound-alikes in the novella, puns and near misses. Take Jesus Arrabal as a fine upstanding example of the word games that Thomas Ruggles Pynchon constantly plays. First off there's Jesus, thyough quite a common Christian Name, particularly in the predominantly Catholic Latin American countries, such as Mexico, but the Arrabal part, where did Our Beloved Author find that one and what does it mean? According to the Wikipedia article on Fernando Arrabal

Fernando Arrabal Terán (born August 11, 1932 in Melilla, Spain) is a Spanish playwright, screenwriter, film director, novelist and poet of Spanish origin. He settled in France in 1955. . . .
. . . .‘’Arrabal’s theatre is a wild, brutal, cacophonous, and joyously provocative world. It is a dramatic carnival in which the carcass of our “advanced” civilizations is barbecued over the spits of a permanent revolution. He is the artistic heir of Kafka’s lucidity and Jarry’s humor; in his violence, Arrabal is related to Sade and Artaud. Yet he is doubtless the only writer to have pushed derision as far as he did. Deeply political and merrily playful, both revolutionary and bohemian, his work is the syndrome of our century of barbed wire and Gulags, a manner of finding a reprieve. . . .’’
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