Against the Day Weblog

January 1, 2007

“We of the futurity…”

Filed under: Uncategorized — basileios @ 8:50 am

Lines like this give Against the Day a totally different perspective.

(page 706)



  1. Yes, quite right. The key to placing Against The Day in proper context is reading Pynchon’s introduction to Nineteen Eighty-Four, especially the part where he concludes that the glossary for newspeak at the end of the book is evidence than mankind did eventually overcome the oppression of Big Brother. At several points in Against The Day (including this one), Pynchon steps out of the book to make clear that it is being narrated from the future. The book also warns that entropy is drowning the future … but his beautiful subjunctive reverie in the final chapter about alternate realities provides hope. Either we will choose correctly at some point and avoid this fate or we will endure it and live on to tell the tale, against the day.

    Comment by Dan Conley — January 2, 2007 @ 4:25 pm | Reply

  2. my interpretation of this particular element in Against the day has been a lot more bleak than your comment provides (but I haven;t finished the book yet). The ‘Pynchonian Universe’ somehow displays an element of ultimate paranoia about history itself. No matter what the micro-elements of history do, it follows its own course as ‘they’ (they?) have decided. We of the futurity can simply observe the facts and correlations that led to the present future in equal inability to act in order to change our present. More like a futile battle than anything else.

    Comment by basileios — January 2, 2007 @ 4:36 pm | Reply

  3. I don’t think my analysis direct conflicts with yours, Pynchon no doubt sees us on a path growing ever more bleak with individuals basically powerless to change the course. But there are dualities in this book that need to be addressed … of lightness that is too powerful to view directly and darkness that leads us towards truth; of photographs that can be extracted, showing lives before and after the moment of the shutterclick drawn out, not just in one but multiple realities. Perhaps Pynchon finds his optimism operating in another dimension of our universe, but it’s impossible to deny, in the final pages, that he sees some glimmers of hope and reaches a similar destination as Orwell.

    Comment by Dan Conley — January 2, 2007 @ 9:28 pm | Reply

  4. well, as i said, I havent finished AtD yet, but I do see what you mean . although I must say that I find it hard to bridge the paranoiac history-as-a-fact interpretation with the multiverse optimism. Unless this is a mockery of optimism itself which is a process which Pynchon isn’t really a strenger to.

    The bottom line for me is that this is one of the core elements of the book.

    Comment by basileios — January 2, 2007 @ 9:39 pm | Reply

  5. >>Unless this is a mockery of optimism itself

    No, I would definitely disagree with that. Pynchon is not a cynic, I believe that he sees grandeur in the human spirit, but this grandeur is regularly squashed by the modern superstate that has a different history and future in mind for us all. It knows how to manipulate our weaknesses, it is skillful at co-opting our anarchist impulses with cultural fads and trends. Within us, there is a happier future where we can breathe and thrive without the superstate. We pray, against the day, that someday we’ll get to live these lives, even if we know it’s unlikely or even impossible.

    Comment by Dan Conley — January 2, 2007 @ 10:16 pm | Reply

  6. interesting point. I am not sure I can call it optimism but it reminds me of the Omega intelligence and heaven as described by Tippler in the physics of immortality. This also somehow justifies all the bridging of the pseudo-scientifical with the scientific which is attempted in the book.

    Comment by basileios — January 3, 2007 @ 7:12 am | Reply

  7. […] Pynchonian view of History as seen through Against the Day (already some discussion about this is in a previous post). In a sense it feels that Pynchon follows a neo-Marxian approach of ultimate paranoia under which […]

    Pingback by Pynchon’s View on History « Against the Day Weblog — January 3, 2007 @ 10:26 am | Reply

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