International Pynchon Week 2015, Athens: Pynchon on the Edge

Dates:  June 8 – 12

Venue: Upper Sakis Karagiorgas Hall, New Building, Panteion University, Athens

Organizers: Ali Chetwynd (University of Michigan), Georgios Maragos (Independent Scholar). Supported by the Department of Communication, Media, and Culture

Supervision: Professor Dimitris Dimiroulis (Panteion University)

Administrative duties: Katerina Alexiadi, Elli Kravvariti

Funding: Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, University of Antwerp, University of Michigan, Pilotless Press

Day 0 – Monday, June 8

18:00-19:00 – Informal Pre-registration

On Monday we will be handing out conference folders and name tags to those who are already in Athens, want to familiarize themselves with the campus, and don’t want to rush things on Tuesday morning.

Day 1 – Tuesday, June 9

08:30-09:30 Registration

09:30-09:45 − Opening Address

09:45-11:15 − Round Table: V., High Culture, Low Culture

Molly Hite (Cornell University) – Venus on a Scungille Shell: High and Low Culture Revisited in V.

Thomas Schaub (University of Wisconsin) – Jazz in V.

Luc Herman (University of Antwerp) and John Krafft (Miami University) – “An all-embracing incompetency for dealing with the opposite sex”: family sitcom removed from the V. typescript.

11:15-11:30 – Coffee Break

11:30-13:00 – The Bleeding Edge Panel

Thaddeus Stoklasa (Illinois State University) – Ruins of Yesterday’s Tomorrow: Bleeding Edge as the End of the Beginning of Cyberpunk.

Daan Schneider (Amsterdam University College) – “A Real Alternative to the Exitlessness”: Heterotopic Spaces in Thomas Pynchon’s Bleeding Edge and The Crying of Lot 49

Andrew Rowcroft (University of Lincoln) – Pynchon the Post-Marxist


14:30-16:00 – ReReading Early Pynchon

David Letzler (City University of New York) – The Weather Does in Fact Change: What Pynchon Got Wrong About Entropy

Bénédicte Chorier-Fryd (University of Poitiers) – “Dreams that Could Never Again be Entirely Safe” – re-reading The Secret Integration

Xavier Marcó del Point (Royal Holloway, University of London) – From N.A.D.A. to Infinity: A Case Study of Wendell ‘Mucho’ Maas

16:00-16:15 – Coffee Break

16:15-17:45 – Race-Pushed Edges

Joel Roberts (University of Brighton) – Abandoning the Freeway in The Crying of Lot 49

Joanna Freer (University of Sussex) – Mason & Dixon and American Indians: Challenging Misconceptions of Native Culture

George Twigg (University of Exeter) – “Raketemenschen, burning out their fuse out there, alone”: Ethnic Identity and the (Zone-)Herero in Gravity’s Rainbow and V.

Day 2 – Wednesday, June 10

09:30-11:00 – Time and Space

Terry Reilly (University of Alaska Fairbanks) – “There is a Hand to turn the time”: Rethinking the Bakhtinian Chronotope in Pynchon’s Works

Tore Rye Andersen (University of Aarhus) – The Wave of the Future, or, Pynchon’s Prophecies

Bastien Meresse (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle) – “These Halls of Night that I wish I were not cursed to return, and return” – from the phantasmagoria of progress to the dialectical image in Against the Day

11:00-11:15 – Coffee Break

11:15-12:45 – Pynchon amid the Institutions

Jeff Severs (University of British Columbia) – Pynchon Under Contract: The Legacy of His Book Deals in a Neoliberal America

Martin Paul Eve (Birkbeck, University of London) – Heidi’s Years of Travel and Learning: Late Pynchon’s Academics

Sebastian Huber (LMU Munich) – Pynchon’s Climate


14:30-16:00 – Heroines

Michael Sanders (Washington University in St Louis) – Virtue Metaethics and the Pynchonian Feminine: Countersystem and Counter-self in The Crying of Lot 49 and Bleeding Edge

Marie Franco (Ohio State University) – Gross Perversions: Reinterpreting Female Sexual Agency and Pynchon’s Poetics in Gravity’s Rainbow.

Kostas Kaltsas (Independent Scholar) – Of ‘Maidens’ and Towers: Oedipa Maas, Maxine Tarnow, and the Possibility of Resistance

16:00-16:15 – Coffee Break

16:15-17:45 – Round Table: Maybe it’s just porn: Pynchon and Sex

Zac Rowlinson (University of Sussex) – “a long way from strange and weird sex. Isn’t it?” Pynchon’s Late Fiction.

Richard Moss (Durham University) – Is Pynchon Gnostic About Sex?

Doug Haynes (University of Sussex) – “allons enfants!” Pynchon’s Pornographies

Day 3 – Thursday, June 11

09:30-11:00 – Sight and Sound

Gilles Chamerois (University of Brest) – A Book in “Black-face type”: faces in Gravity’s Rainbow

Justin St Clair (University of South Alabama) – The Inherent Vice Soundtrack

Abeer Fahim (American University of Sharjah) – Rethinking Surrealism: Visual Alchemy in Against the Day

11:00-11:15 Coffee Break

11:15-12:45 – Units of Analysis

Erik Ketzan (Institute for the German Language, Mannheim), Jens Stegmann (Institute for Natural Language Processing, University of Stuttgart), Andreas Witt (Institute for the German Language, Mannheim) – Building a Pynchon Corpus: Technical and Legal Issues

Gary Thompson (Saginaw Valley State University) – Evocative Objects in Thomas Pynchon’s Fiction

Samuli Björninen (University of Tampere) – The Edge of Idiosyncracy and the Bleeding Obvious – Key Passages, Canons of Interpretation, and (re)reading V.


14:45-16:45 – Two hours of Para-Pynchon

Sascha Pöhlmann (LMU Munich) – Talking Around Orbit

Giorgos Kyriazis – Greek translator of Pynchon – Pynchon-Induced Headache: The Challenges of Translating the Work of Thomas Pynchon

Nina Muždeka (University of Novi Sad) – Serbian translator of Pynchon – Interpreting Pynchon as a Postmodernist: Attaining Meaning in Translation

David Kipen (UCLA) – Quotha!: Quoting Pynchon, and Pynchon’s Quotations

Matthew Cissell (Pais Vasco University) – The Pynman’s Wood-be-Nemesis: James Wood on Thomas Pynchon

Michel Ryckx (Data Warehouse Analyst) – Indexing Pynchon’s Works: An Attempt

Russell Backman (UC Davis) – Programming Ambiguity: Pynchon’s Modular Objects and the Digital Database

Day 4 – Friday, June 12

09:30-11.00 – Strange Bedfellows

Umberto Rossi (Independent Scholar) – Doper’s Cadenza, or Pynchon’s Vineland as a (mis)Reading of Philip K Dick’s A Scanner Darkly

Paolo Simonetti (Sapienza University of Rome) – Peacock Tails and Spouter Whales: Is Thomas Pynchon really Herman Melville?

Frank Palmeri (University of Miami) – Labor, History and Utopia in News from Nowhere and Against the Day

11:00-11:15 – Coffee Break

11:15-12:45 – Recent Pynchon’s Retrospections

Heidi Lavine (Westminster College) – Beyond Monuments and History: Model as Memory in Against the Day

LeAnn Larré (Enseirb Matmeca) and Jeffrey Swartwood (Ecole Polytechnique in Palaiseau) – Mapping Memory: The Streetscapes of Pynchon’s Inherent Vice

Daniela Daniele (University of Udine) – Pynchon and DeLillo: Euphoria and Disphoria of the Persisting Sixties


14:30-16:00 – Round Table: Accommodating Different Conspiratorial Views on 9/11 Through Ambiguity in Bleeding Edge

Melissa Leismer (University of Granada) – On ambiguity and an ambiguous narrator

Miriam Fernández Santiago (University of Granada) – Opinions of the characters on conspiracy theory

Celia Wallhead (University of Granada) – How does Bleeding Edge differ from Pynchon’s previous works in terms of the creation of ambiguity to point to conspiracy?

16:00-16:15 – Coffee Break

16:15-17:45 – Violent Ends

Jennifer Backman (Palomar College) – From Hard-Boiled to Over Easy: Reimagining the Noir Detective in Inherent Vice and Bleeding Edge

Thoren Opitz (LMU Munich) – Dueling Ends – Gun Violence and Narrative Closure in Inherent Vice and Bleeding Edge

Eric Sandberg (University of Oulu) – Terminal Edges: Thomas Pynchon’s Endings

Closing Remarks


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