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Special Issue Articles

Vol. 3 No. 1 (2021): Im/Mobilities in American Culture

Going West, Slow and Fast: Speed and Surveying in Thomas Pynchon's Mason & Dixon

May 19, 2019


This article examines the speed and mobility of surveying of pre-revolutionary America in Thomas Pynchon's Mason & Dixon (1997). Pynchon contrasts the extremely slow and directed physical drawing of the Mason-Dixon line with the infinitely fast and undirected speed of magic and dream. This confrontation of mobilities extends into a more general discussion of Enlightenment science and romantic reverie and their clash in Pynchon's novel.  I contend that this investigation of mobility furthermore helps to extend the conceptualization of the well-established opposition of rationality and irrationality in current Pynchon scholarship and beyond. 


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