January 20, 2014

From V. to Eternity . . .

V. by Thomas Pynchon (1963):

But they produced nothing but talk and at that not very good talk. A few like Slab actually did what they professed; turned out a tangible product. But again, what? Cheese Danishes. Or this technique for the sake of technique — Catatonic Expressionism. Or parodies on what someone else had already done.

So much for Art. What of Thought? The Crew had developed a kind of shorthand whereby they could set forth any visions that might come their way. Conversations at the Spoon had become little more than proper nouns, literary allusions, critical or philosophical terms linked in certain ways. Depending on how you arranged the building blocks at your disposal, you were smart or stupid. Depending on how others reacted they were In or Out. The number of blocks, however, was finite.

“Mathematically, boy,” he told himself, “if nobody else original comes along, they’re bound to run out of arrangements someday. What then?” What indeed. This sort of arranging and rearranging was Decadence, but the exhaustion of all possible permutations and combinations was death.

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. . .
V-2: Gravity’s Rainbow (1973)
V. 3.0 (Beyond the One and Zero): Bleeding Edge (2013)
cf. William Gaddis (1955): The Recognitions