The story was not collected until it appeared in Slow Learner in 1984. In the introduction to that volume, Pynchon wrote of the story, "Most of what I dislike about my writing is present here in embryo. I failed to recognize, just for openers, that the main character's problem was real and interesting enough to generate a story on its own. Apparently I felt I had to put on a whole extra overlay of rain images and references to 'The Waste Land' and A Farewell to Arms. I was operating on the motto 'Make it literary,' a piece of bad advice I made up all by myself and then took."
In addition to being one of only five contributors to the Spring 1959 issue of the Cornell Writer, Pynchon is also listed on the masthead as a member of the editorial board. "The Small Rain" comprises 19 pages of the 32-page publication.
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