Simon Malpas
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‘I believe in incursion from elsewhere’
Political and aesthetic disruption in Against the Day
in Thomas Pynchon
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This chapter explores the impact of anarchy as a strategy for disrupting the coherencies of ideology, those of politics and of reading. Within Thomas Pynchon's Against the Day, anarchist activity is a rife, as several characters attempt to resist the inexorable march of capitalism, and anarchist violence is felt across the world. The novel combines an explicit attentiveness to spatial and temporal forms, investing in both categories as viable politicised modes of experience. Against the Day, with its self-conscious awareness of science-fiction conventions and time-travelling possibilities, offers up a challenge to linearity's dominance. Narrative digressions, pronounced shifts backwards and forwards in time and across space, and transitions into dream-worlds ensure a reading experience that is bereft of the reassurances of linear progression.

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