Immanence & Transcendence in
Thomas Pynchon's Mason & Dixon
A Phenomenological Study

By Joakim Sigvardson
December 2002
Almqvist & Wiksell
ISBN: 91-22-01962-6
169 pages, 6 3/4" x 9 1/2"
$54.00 Paper Original

The investigation studies Thomas Pynchon's Mason & Dixon as a novel that comes to giveness in terms of three strata of manifestation: the arty, the rhizomatic, and the acosmic. Utilizing a affective turn implemented within the phenomenological movement by Michael Henry, the study proposes that alongside a rhizomatic mode of accessibility promoting transcendence, Mason & Dixon manifests a withholding of transcendence. The study investigates the manifestation of this ontological withholding by carrying out the phenomenological reduction established by Edmund Husserl, and by elucidating the phenomenon of immanence in the literary text by means of a theory of auto-affection rooted in - but not reducible to - such methodological reduction. The study proposes that the thematization of anomaly in Mason & Dixon may be unconstructed by means of phenomenological moves that uncover strata of phenomenalization that are not apparent on a thematic or merely playful level. These strata, with their promotion of immanence at the expense of transcendence, are found to be complexly affective in nature. The affectivity governing the withholding of transcendence in these strata is discovered to be instrumental in the work's critique of colonial modes of spatialization, of logocentric modes of transcendence, and of post-Nietzschean modes of affective mastery. Mason & Dixon discloses a tension between a mode of anomaly that is part of a normal/anomalous dichotomy and a mode of anomaly that is doubly anomalous. Manifested as a nonspatial zone, the doubly anomalous becomes manifested on the hither side of oppositional structures in the novel, such as truth/untruth. The doubly anomalous in Mason & Dixon is identified as an "acosmic" zone of affectivity in which mastering intellectualizations fall short of their telos. Insofar as the "acosmic" occurs within logocentric cartography, it implies an unsettling of every horizontal subject, of nature as the property of man, and of freeplay as the medium of will to power.

Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, Stockholm Studies in English, XCVII

Return to Coronet Books main page