20 Century English Notes
Tuesday, Jan 21 2014
Lolita continued and Crying of Lot 49
1. How does the novel change in part 2?
• Road trip novel
• Change of pace, more chaotic, jarring and suspenseful as it goes from a
description of Lolita to a crime/road trip novel
• Loses his calm and collected attitude
• Lolita grows… he becomes anxious.
• Era of interstate highway system.
2. How does the relation of Humbert and Lolita change in part 2?
• Lolita has more power, power dynamic shifts
• HUmbert is now the vulnerable one.
• Lolita’s love is on top.
• Lolita has an intense gravitational attraction.
3. What is the significance of Lolita’s interest in theatricals?
• Humbert thinks of screenwriters as lesser beings. So it’s a rebellion that she is into
• Acting points out that they are acting the entire time together.
• She is taking direction.
• She is the one acting and actively performing, whereas humbert has been
performing the entire first half and directing.
• Lolita will become the performer, the pretender, she maniupaltes him..
• She is participating in the Enchanted Hunters…Humbert is the enchanted hunter.
• Themes of Lolita.
The Enchanted Hunters: • Marks a change in their relationship…
4. How convinced are you by Humbert’s protestations of love for this Lolita
Notes on Lolita Part 2
• Problems for Humbert! Tries to reproduce Anabelle moment.
• Humberts fantasy is running up against reality.
• Road trip, then another roadtrip.
• Look, I’ve decided something… lets leave and never come back. This time well
go weherver IIIIIII want. LOLITA’S LOVE ON TOP.
• Beardsley is a new England town. Like all small towns of the 50’s literature is
virtuous only on the surface. Underneath, there is a tangle of ugly impulses.
(Gustave likes little boys)
• 183 I am now faced with this distasteful task…
• Convinced that theres a detective, gives appropriate name of traap!
• Attend a play by Quilty and Darkbloom!
• Eraser of the lisence plates that he copied down.
• Genre changes into detective. (Love, Road, Detective)
• THEN ▯ Lolita gets sick on 239.
• When she’s in the hospital he starts drinking more and then flies into a drunken
• Page 247 signifigant.
• He then retraces the route and searches for his beloved.
• Jokes about names on 250.
• There is an annoted version which explains all jokes in the novel.
• The clues he left did not establish his identiy.
• Ammature of sex lord. • HE BECOMES PARANOID_ paranoia is a disease of overinterpretation.
• Knocks on the door and BAM she’s different!
• She is living a normal, conventional life. The opposite.
• He gets the Claire quilty story out of her
• Well, quilty turns out to be like humbert humbert.
• He has stolen her childhood.
• Final end of the story, he murders the dude.
• Humbert has no future or purpose… “end of ingenious play”
• Does not pertain morals. Its Amoral. Creates an artificial dichotomy between
work and significance.
• A novel or any real work of art doesn’t tell you what to do it gives you examples
of who you might aspire to be or avoid being.
• He lacks empathy with others.
• He only lives in his own head. He does not think about other people
• Reading is a way of struggling against evil, an effort of curiosity.
• The novel contributes to building our own lives by providing us with images and
Crying of Lot 49
• Postmodern book.
• Questions of communication.
• Pynchon: Maintained invisibility, lack of biography. He studied at cornell, worked
briefly as a technical writer for boeing, wrote defused stories, at 26 published V.
Complex work. Then he disappeared for 12 years and didn’t publish no ting but
then he cameout with a novel. Comes out with a good novel every few years.
• Book is about communication, and what does communication really mean?
• Reality of communication, rather than things and people.
• Computers exchange info with one another.
• They don’t even need human intervention. • Human has meaning, mechanical works with information.
• How can we tell the difference? Does the world contain meanings or is ir only
• What does it mean to be human?
• Tupperware party: Capitalism, Suburbia.
• Capitalism controls us by shaping our desires…to think we want a particular
brand or thing
• Capitalism makes us drunk haha
• Promotes a need than can never be served.
• Like alcohol.
• Fills book with pop culture references.
• Pynchon works on a larger scale.
• Oedipal like oedipas is trying to solve a riddle.
• WWHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS???????????!!??? – oedipa
• Maas: It means more in Spanish.
• “signs have been emtied by their meaning”
• Baudrillard – the pressesion simulacra : western history can be thought of as the
history of the image. 1. It is the reflection of a basic reality and perverts basic
reality 2. It makes the absense of basic reality. 2. It bears no relation to any reality
whatever it is its own pure simulacrum.
Tuesday, January 28 20 4
Suggestive stages in history of image:
1. It is the reflection of a basic reality it masks and perverts a basic reality
2. Lit masks the absense of a basic reality
3. It bears no relation to any reality whatever; it is its own pure simulacrum: post
modernism… all we have is images and there is nothing behind them.
The crying of Lot 49 J J JJJJ)))))
• Story begins with death. • Oedipa receives her mission as executor of will
o Will: the final wish of a dying person. The WILL of the dead person. The
attempt of some dead person’s will to impose on the living.
o The executor is in position of determining what the will really means.
o Her mission is to solve the mystery.
• Pierce: important character even though the nigga is dead.
o He was a really rich real estate capitalist.
o He is very mysterious.
o On page 3: speaks to her in voice of Lamont Cranston who was a character
of a shadow with a low mysterious voice.
o He speaks to her in multiple voices.
o Innitials are P.I (Private Investigator..what oedipal will become)
o Pierce Verity? Truth? Truth of the novel?
o Valuable stamp in stamp collecting……….
o Pierce as in thrusting through a surface. We PEARCE thru the cover to
find the truth
• everything is signifigant in this book.
• This novel is about signs
• Pynchon’s interest is in exposing just how complicated it can be
• Maybe one sign will lead us to another sign and etc.
• Mucho is the opposite of pierce.
o He plays a m