Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Feast of ExcessA Cultural History of the New Sensibility$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

George Cotkin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190218478

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190218478.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 05 June 2020

Erectile Destruction

Erectile Destruction

Samuel R. Delany and Thomas Pynchon


(p.297) { 21 } Erectile Destruction
Feast of Excess

George Cotkin

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks at novels marked by various types of excess. In Pynchon’s great work Gravity’s Rainbow, the reader is assaulted with erudition, puns, and possibilities. At the same time, the excess is directed toward logical ends, and it mimics, in a fashion, the insanity connected with the Second World War and the potential for nuclear annihilation. The book also, within the context of the mainstreaming of pornography and excess in films premiering during in 1972, deals with domination and submission in sexual relations. Such themes appear raw in Delany’s novel from this period, Hogg, which features the varieties of sexual practice—including the grossest. His major science fiction novel from this period, Dhalgren, is about identity, community, and destruction, as well as the potential for liberation, with a storyline that is meant to lead one down various blind alleys of comprehension, in the mode of postmodernism. They were exploring transgression with abandon, as were others in this period, such as film director John Waters.

Keywords:   Samuel R. Delany, Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow, Dhalgren, science fiction, pornography, John Waters

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .