Home > Catalogue > Annali di Ca’ Foscari. Serie occidentale > 53 | 2019 > “She hangs on the western wall”: Breaking the Myth of the Renaissance in Thomas Pynchon’s V.

“She hangs on the western wall”: Breaking the Myth of the Renaissance in Thomas Pynchon’s V.

Francesca Razzi    Università degli Studi «G. d'Annunzio» Chieti-Pescara, Italia    



Since the time of its publication in 1963, Pynchon’s first novel V. has been triggering an intense and still ongoing critical debate upon the function of history and tradition in contemporary literature. As a specimen of postmodern historiographic metafiction, V. enacts complex intertextual strategies, directed at debunking the Western literary tradition, thus questioning its significance in contemporary society. The present contribution aims at extending previous scholarship on the problem of tradition in Pynchon’s fiction, by focusing on the use of the Renaissance in the seventh chapter of V. selected as a case study. Far from marginal, Pynchon’s parodic references to the Italian Renaissance tradition and its cultural artifacts, whether through the artistic productions, or the idea of the Renaissance seen as a pivotal moment of the socio-historical development of the Western world, testify to the process of deconstruction of the paradigmatic role of the Renaissance for the American literary field in the late twentieth century, also in its global and transnational dimension.

Sept. 26, 2019
April 26, 2019
March 21, 2019

Keywords: American literatureHistoryThomas PynchonPostmodern fictionRenaissance

Copyright: © 2019 Francesca Razzi. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.