250
250
Pynchon, Thomas
Estimate
12,00018,000
JUMP TO LOT
250
Pynchon, Thomas
Estimate
12,00018,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Fine Books & Manuscripts

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New York

Pynchon, Thomas
Typed letter signed in pencil ("Tom"), 3pp. on ruled paper (10 7/8 x 8 3/8 in.; 276 x 213 mm), with a one-word addition in pencil, to Bob Hillock; horizontal folds. Typed envelope; browned and with stamp and corner of envelope torn away.
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Catalogue Note

AN IMPORTANT LETTER FROM 1964, IN WHICH PYNCHON DISCUSSES AMERICAN AND MEXICAN POLITICS, THE KENNEDY ASSASSINATION, SEATTLE AND BOEING, AND ALSO QUESTIONS HIS OWN COMMITMENT TO A CAREER AS A WRITER.

After a visit to the United States ("I can't remember a worse seven months, not even at Boeing …"), Pynchon was back in Mexico City by April 1964. He informs Bob Hillock that he will not be returning to the U. S. to cover the Republican National Convention later that year "much as I would like to see old Barry [Goldwater] get put down." He continues, "…I can't seem to get anything done while I'm inside the continental limits. As far as the writing is concerned, the whole time between last August and now was wasted. There is also the matter of Kennedy's assassination, which hit me harder than I will probably ever tell anybody, or even admit to myself, not because of how I felt about him, which as you know was favorable, but because I thought we were through with that kind of crap back when Czolgosz got McKinley. I would feel the same way if it were Eisenhower who'd got it. The logic being that political murders should not be part of a civilized democracy, and if they are then something is wrong with the country, and by extension something is wrong with me, and you too. If Oswald found it in himself to do what he did, then given the right circumstances, so could we, and that bothers me." Pynchon goes on to offer his friend reasons why he will not be writing about the convention: "…what can I possibly say about the Republican convention that would be of any use to anybody … what kind of racket is this writing racket, anyway, if it has not civilized people beyond the level exhibited in Dallas …. If I am still plugging away at the same three novels I was when I talked to you last, plus one more, it is only because I don't like to leave work undone and I have to make money somehow till I can figure out a racket to get into that is useful."

Seattle and Boeing then come under Pynchon's scrutiny. "I hope in the long run the shock of finding out how much of a one-industry town Seattle really is sinks in on some people, notably the C[hamber] of C[ommerce], and they start making some serious efforts to lure industry in, like giving them tax breaks, which they can make up by nailing the teamsters and the Catholic church."

Mexican politics are discussed and Pynchon offers a vivid description of Charles de Gaulle on a state visit to Mexico: "… it stayed clear the afternoon de Gaulle came here to visit, so I got a good look at old Charlie up close. He was wearing makeup for the cameras and looked like kind of a fat, white Wilt Chamberlain next to the president of Mexico, Lopez Mateos, who is more Mickey Rooney-sized."

Pynchon ends his letter by circling back around to his his reasons for not coming north and writing on election year politics: "If I were more easy in my mind about writing in general, and my capacity for it, I'd be more ready to take on things like that, but I am not yet a Leon Uris or Irving Stone. If you can accept that, write and talk to me about anything, like what success you are having relocating, what's happening GOPwise and in general."

A FINE LETTER WRITTEN BETWEEN THE PUBLICATION OF V THE PREVIOUS SUMMER AND OF THE CRYING OF LOT 49 TWO YEARS LATER.

Fine Books & Manuscripts

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New York