Slow Learner: Early Stories

Slow Learner: Early Stories

by Thomas Pynchon

The collection consists of five short stories: 'The Small Rain', 'Lowlands', 'Entropy', 'Under the Rose', and 'The Secret Integration', as well as an introduction written by Pynchon himself for the 1984 publication.

The five stories were originally published individually in various literary magazines but in 1984, after Pynchon had achieved greater recognition, Slow Learner was published to collect and copyright the stories into one volume.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Fiction
  • Rating: 3.50
  • Pages: 208
  • Publish Date: February 16th 1995 by Vintage Classics
  • Isbn10: 0099532514
  • Isbn13: 9780099532514

What People Think about "Slow Learner: Early Stories"

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This, from the opening paragraph of Thomas Pynchon's introduction to his earliest published stories, appears at first to be a self-conscious oversell of false modesty. I'm not going to go into detail about the problems here, mainly because Pynchon does such a damn good job of it in his introduction.

Delinquent Juvenilia Its almost inevitable that any author will consider their juvenilia as inferior to their later or more mature works (especially if they made the transition from short stories to fully-fledged and ambitious novels). Thomas Pynchon is no different in his perspective on the five short stories in this collection (which were originally published between 1959 and 1964. From Under the Rose to "V." Its generally known that Pynchon was working on all of his first three novels at the same time, but chose to prioritise them differently, both in terms of completion and publication. You could say that this is the beginning of the Pynchonesque collective concept of the whole sick crew, which would later feature in V., as it does in later stories in this collection, like Dennis Flange and his weird crew in Low-Lands (1960) and Grover Snodd and his gang of delinquent boys in The Secret Integration (1964) Integration into the Collective The last of these stories concerns the integration of coloured people into society and school, while the army setting of The Small Rain arguably recognises the importance of the war to greater understanding of other races and creeds (Nathan Lardass Levine, a graduate of CCNY, is described as the Wandering Jew). Pynchon responds to the story with a bleakness of heart, describing it as an example of a procedural errorto begin with a theme, symbol or other abstract unifying agent, and then try to force characters and events to conform to it. It also echoes Pynchons comments in the Introduction about the position of his generation between Modernism and what would (or might) succeed it: We were encouraged from many directions - Kerouac and the Beat writers, the diction of Saul Bellow in The Adventures of Augie March, emerging voices like those of Herbert Gold and Philip Roth - to see how at least two very distinct kinds of English could be allowed to coexist. To focus exclusively and obsessively on Pynchons Post-Modernism and paranoia is to place him in a category within which he doesnt always belong or sit comfortably, and to underestimate the nuances of his political concerns as an individual and an author.

This was my 4th Pynchon, and probably a good time for it.

I thought, well, no one ever says anything about this album, I'll give it a shot.

Esta colección de relatos de Thomas Pynchon me ha sorprendido muy gratamente. Es lo primero que leo del autor y como el propio Pynchon explica en el prólogo estas no son sus mejoras historias. Cuando los dos amigos charlan y beben animadamente, la esposa de Dennis, Cindy, llega a casa y cuando su marido le explica que esa mañana ha decidido quedarse en casa, ella se siente decepcionada y se enfada.

The self-deprecating introduction really sets the tone, downplaying expectations and welcoming the reader to just relax a bit and enjoy the flawed stories. They were apparently no minor item, as they got noticed and put Pynchon on the map of a small literary crowd before his first book came out. He complains about how amateur these works are and expresses regret over the things he forced into these stories to try to make them more literary. The Small Rain 1959 A low level army tech takes a minor roll in hurricane response. This was my favorite story as it works on a simple level - an unusual and casual, almost accidental confrontation with death. The Secret Integration 1964 This story actually post-dates V.. But Pynchon adds and works on a complicated racial element.