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      “Something More Than a Rifle”: Firearms in and around Thomas Pynchon’s Mason & Dixon

      Orbit: Writing Around Pynchon

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          Abstract

          This article aims to carry out a multidisciplinary reading of Mason & Dixon starting from the apparitions of what might only look like a "stage prop", a rifle in four more or less important moments of the novel. By applying a stereoscopic reading of the novel, which may achieve depth by means of comparing different textual objects and a wider historical context (that of the history of firearms in the 17th and 18th century, plus other works by Pynchon featuring firearms), it will be shown how literary (textual) avatars of "real", "historical" objects (firearms) may at the same time be verbal constructs but refer to the technical, material features of those objects, establishing multi-dimensional and complex relations between technology, science, economics (early forms of globalization), politics (colonialism and colonial wars) within and outside Mason & Dixon, and the rest of Pynchon's oeuvre. Moreover, this reading allows us to better understand how Pynchon may use the historical documents and literature he has found while researching his novels.

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          Most cited references 38

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          Gravity's Rainbow

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            Against the Day

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              Mason & Dixon

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Orbit: Writing Around Pynchon
                Orbit: Writing Around Pynchon
                2044-4095
                2014
                : 2
                : 2
                Affiliations
                simpleIndependent Researcher
                Article
                10.7766/orbit.v2.2.77
                Copyright © 2014, Umberto Rossi

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The citation of this article must include: the name(s) of the authors, the name of the journal, the full URL of the article (in a hyperlinked format if distributed online) and the DOI number of the article.

                Product
                Self URI (journal-page): https://www.pynchon.net/

                Literary studies, History

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