Step back into the zany zeitgeist of Pynchon’s 1960s

Cover art from the first US paperback edition of ‘The Crying of Lot 49’.

The Crying of Lot 49 is one of US novelist Thomas Pynchon’s shorter works, but still bristles with a manic postmodern plot, wildly eccentric characters and a storyline that links sinister hidden histories to an alternative society with its own postal system.

Flinders lecturer and ABC Radio film reviewer Dr Nick Prescott will give a guided tour of the teeming themes of The Crying of Lot 49 at 6pm on Thursday, April 7 at Flinders University Victoria Square.

The event will be the latest in the Step Back! 1966 in Review series of lectures, which are devoted to revisiting the culture and times in which Flinders University was founded through the eyes (and minds) of members of the School of Humanities and Creative Arts.

“Looking at The Crying of Lot 49 is a wonderful way to dip one’s toes back into the mid-1960s, and to get a vibrant and compelling snapshot of the counter-culture that was thriving at the time,” says Dr Prescott.

As the author of several acclaimed novels in which paranoia and conspiracy reign supreme, Thomas Pynchon has added to the mix by refusing to grant interviews for decades; further, despite being the recipient of many major literary and cultural awards, only a handful of photographic images of the author exist.

“Pynchon’s ‘authorial absence’ adds significantly to the intrigue surrounding the novel,” continues Dr Prescott.

“The book was a huge ‘underground’ hit, and has also inspired innumerable doctoral theses, conferences, journal articles and even pop songs. The fact that the man behind it all remains such an enigma has continued to fascinate readers for the subsequent 50 years.”

To register for the free lecture, go here.



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