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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.\

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