Mapping Inherent Vice

About the Author

Author bio (courtesy of Wikipedia)

Thomas Ruggles Pynchon, Jr. (born May 8, 1937) is an American novelist. For his most praised novel, Gravity’s Rainbow, Pynchon received the National Book Award, and is regularly cited as a contender for the Nobel Prize for Literature. Pynchon is a MacArthur Fellow noted for his dense and complex novels, and both his fiction and non-fiction writings encompass a vast array of subject matter, styles and themes, including (but not limited to) the fields of history, science, and mathematics.

Hailing from Long Island, Pynchon served two years in the United States Navy and earned an English degree from Cornell University. After publishing several short stories in the late 1950s and early 1960s, he began composing the novels for which he is best known: V. (1963), The Crying of Lot 49 (1966), Gravity’s Rainbow (1973), and Mason & Dixon (1997). Pynchon is also known for being very private; very few photographs of him have ever been published, and rumors about his location and identity have been circulated since the 1960s.


V. (1963)

The Crying of Lot 49 (1966)

Gravity’s Rainbow (1973)

Slow Learner (1984; collection of early short stories)

Vineland (1990) [Note: Vineland shares many thematic and narrative similarities with Inherent Vice; they can be considered companion novels.]

Mason & Dixon (1997)

Against the Day (2006)

Inherent Vice (2009)


Official site (


Michael Davitt Bell’s online guide to Gravity’s Rainbow

Daily Beast article about a writer’s encounters with Pynchon in New York

[Due to Pynchon’s notorious aversion to publicity, there are no existing interviews with, or video footage of, the author. However, he has lent his voice to two episodes of The Simpsons; one of his appearances can be seen in the clip embedded above.]


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