Under the beach, the paving stones! The fate of Fordism in Pynchon's 'Inherent vice'

Haynes, Doug (2013) Under the beach, the paving stones! The fate of Fordism in Pynchon's 'Inherent vice'. Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, 55 (1). pp. 1-16. ISSN 1939-9138

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Inherent Vice is Pynchon's latest novel (2009) and seems to complete his 'California trilogy' of The Crying of Lot 49 (1966) and Vineland (1990). Where those novels present the emergence of the counterculture, and the Reaganite backlash of the 80s, respectively, Inherent Vice, I argue, narrates the transition between the Fordist consensus of the post-war era and the regime of flexible accumulation that characterizes American and Western economy after about 1971. My reading of the new novel finds behind its familiar "Pynchonian" conspiracy and detective plot an account of what Marx called "the destruction of capital" in moments of crisis. The Nixon "gold shock", the war in Vietnam and the emergence of global competition are all signaled in the novel's interstices. Hence, I suggest, Pynchon provides an account not only of why the "parenthesis of light" of the 60s ended, but the conditions of the emergence of the so-called postmodern moment (from which he has himself benefited) as well. In this respect, my reading of the novel detects a substantially more leftist Pynchon than currently is considered to exist.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Online first edition
Schools and Departments: School of English > English
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic history and conditions
P Language and Literature > PS American literature
Depositing User: Douglas Haynes
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2013 14:50
Last Modified: 12 Nov 2013 15:12
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/40968
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