Gravity’s Rainbow – Thomas Pynchon 1973 | 1st Edition


  • Author: Thomas Pynchon
  • Publisher: The Viking Press, New York, 1973
  • Binding: Soctcover
  • Condition: Very Good
  • Size: 8vo
  • Attributes: First Edition

First paperback edition, first printing. Published simultaneously with the hardcover edition. Binding tight, head of spine chipped, light creases, spine sun faded, few soiling spots at spine. Corners rubbed, light foxing at edges, internally fine, unmarked. A Very Good copy of this classic.

Winner of the 1973 National Book Award, Gravity’s Rainbow is a postmodern epic, a work as exhaustively significant to the second half of the 20th century as  James Joyce‘s Ulysses was to the first. Its sprawling, encyclopedic narrative and penetrating analysis of the impact of technology on society make it an intellectual tour de force.

Gravity’s Rainbow is a 1973 novel by the American writer Thomas Pynchon. The narrative is set primarily in Europe at the end of World War II and centers on the design, production and dispatch of V-2 rockets by the German military. In particular, it features the quest undertaken by several characters to uncover the secret of a mysterious device, the Schwarzgerät (“black device”), which is slated to be installed in a rocket with the serial number “00000.”

Traversing a wide range of knowledge, Gravity’s Rainbow transgresses boundaries between high and low culture, between literary propriety and profanity, and between science and speculative metaphysics.

Although selected by the Pulitzer Prize jury on fiction for the 1974 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the Pulitzer Advisory Board was offended by its content, some of which was described as “‘unreadable,’ ‘turgid,’ ‘overwritten’ and in parts ‘obscene'”. No Pulitzer Prize was awarded for fiction that year. The novel was nominated for the 1973 Nebula Award for Best Novel.

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