The Crying Of Lot 49 Analysis

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2. The Crying of Lot 49: modernism or postmodernism?
In my arguing that The Crying of Lot 49 can also be construed as a late-modernist text, I will turn to Harvey’s essay ‘The Cry from Within or Without? Pynchon and the Modern – Postmodern Divide’ where he fervently argues against McHale’s ‘claim’ that The Crying of Lot 49 is fundamentally a modernist text by presenting two core arguments relating to a) intertextuality and b) Oedipa’s search for truth.
Before I will dispute any arguments of Harvey himself, I have to note that Harvey starts his essay with an incorrect claim, because McHale had already repudiated his previous statement of The Crying of Lot 49 being only a modernist novel when Harvey wrote his essay in 2013 (Harvey 2013: 1; McHale
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However, Harvey’s argument becomes confusing as he never gets to the main point, and instead seemingly starts to switch topics and hides behind a barrage of references to other works and authorities. He then states that The Crying of Lot 49 is not a modernist work since Oedipa’s quest is ‘performed within the fabric of a textual tapestry’ (2013: 7). Harvey lists numerous intertextual references. Additionally, because of its intertextuality, The Crying of Lot 49 cannot be a modernist work Harvey concludes (2013: 6-7). Indeed, Hassan (1982, cf. supra) names this convoluted intertextuality a characteristic of postmodernism, yet The Crying of Lot 49 is also genrebound, namely, the detective novel. Being bound to a genre is a characteristic of modernism as defined by Hassan (1982: 267-268), following this argumentation, Harvey’s point is still somewhat valid, yet this interpretation still allows a modernist reading next to his postmodern interpretation (Harvey 2013: 6-7). I also have to note that Harvey’s argument here is overall weak. Joyce’s Ulysses is also a work that is saturated with intertextuality and it contains many genres such as ‘romantic magazine fiction’, ‘journalistic reporting’ and ‘dramatic dialogue’, yet it isn’t marked as a postmodern work (Childs 2008: …show more content…
Here I would argue that the novel’s ending, while not explicitly giving the solution to the novel’s plot, does leave the potential for a solution or a truth; there is still a chance of solving the Tristero mystery. The argumentation here lies in the novel’s final passage: ‘to await the crying of lot 49’ (Pynchon 2000: 142). Earlier in the novel, the ‘Word’ and ‘crying’ are explicitly linked together, acting as synonyms (Pynchon 2000: 89). If the ‘Word’ or ‘crying’ can ‘abolish the night’, then perhaps ‘crying’ the lot 49 will solve the mystery that is at the core of the novel (see also: Grant 2008: 118-119). Other interpretations are also hopeful of the novel’s ending: Grant, quoting Tanner, remarks that the final scene’s links with Christian religion: ‘like the moment before Pentecostal revelation when we would all be able to speak in tongues – and be able to understand “the Word” directly’ (Tanner 1971: 185-186 as cited in Grant 2008:

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