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6 - Haunting and Hunting: Bodily Resurrection and the Occupation of History in Thomas Pynchon's Mason & Dixon

from Enlightenment Microhistories

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 September 2012

Elizabeth Jane Wall Hinds
Affiliation:
SUNY Brockport
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Summary

For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

— I Corinthians 15:16–19 (KJV)

These times are unfriendly toward Worlds alternative to this one.

— Revd Cherrycoke, in Mason & Dixon (359)

What?

— John Calvin, Institutes

JUST BEFORE PUBLICATION OF Mason & Dixon, Thomas Pynchon wrote a review of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera, in which he says that “to assert the resurrection of the body [is] today as throughout history an unavoidably revolutionary idea” (“Heart's Eternal Vow”). In other essays, such as “Is it OK to be a Luddite?,” Pynchon almost defensively asserts that he is not being “Insufficiently Serious” in his ecomiums to “violations of the laws of nature,” especially “the big one, mortality itself.” Again, in “The Deadly Sins/Sloth,” he risks accusations of naïve historical nostalgia by recalling for us “the long-ago age of faith and miracle, when daily life really was the Holy Ghost visibly at work and time was a story, with a beginning, middle and end. Belief was intense, engagement deep and fatal.”

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The Multiple Worlds of Pynchon's 'Mason and Dixon'
Eighteenth-Century Contexts, Postmodern Observations
, pp. 147 - 170
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2005

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