Gravity's Rainbow is known for, among other things, its authentic historical representation of London during the V-2 Blitz. Strangely enough, critics have continued to ignore that other city, Berlin, which occupies almost as much space in the novel and presents readers with a harrowing glimpse of the German capital in the final months after the surrender. This essay argues that this postwar glimpse of Berlin challenged Thomas Pynchon to develop representational techniques for capturing urban destruction on such a scale. Behind the rubble, the missing street signs, encyclopedic lists of trash, and hallucinations of King Kong is a nuanced strategy for acknowledging the historical presence of the Allied air raids and the human costs of aerial warfare from the perspective of the street.
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Eric Bulson; A Supernatural History of Destruction; or, Thomas Pynchon's Berlin. New German Critique 1 August 2010; 37 (2 (110)): 49–72. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0094033X-2010-004
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