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Representation and the Twentieth-Century Novel : Studies in Gorky, Joyce and Pynchon / von Paul D Morris

The book proposes critical readings of Maxim Gorky’s Mother, James Joyce’s Ulysses and Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow. Methodologically, these studies are based on a fresh poetics of representation and the novel form, and Morris’s delineation of a comprehensive approach to the practice of literary historical analysis. Morris’s discussion of canonic novels from three literary traditions provides entrance into a series of critical issues related to aesthetics, literary history and the representational relationship of word to world. Gorky, Joyce and Pynchon are presented as more than the authors of paradigmatic novels which helped define the literary movements of socialist realism, modernism and postmodernism. A reading of their poetics of the novel reveals the ways in which they both shaped and reflected the socio-aesthetic eras they inhabited. The manipulations of the novel form undertaken by Gorky, Joyce and Pynchon demonstrate not only the transformative capability of a famously protean genre; they also provide tangible evidence of the novel’s dedication to literature’s perennially mimetic function. Representation and the Twentieth-Century Novel: Studies in Gorky, Joyce and Pynchon is thus both a poetics of the novel’s representational potential and a contribution to the literary history of the twentieth-century.