Chapter

/Subjunctive America: Thomas Pynchon's Mason & Dixon and Gabriel García Márquez's Love in the Time of Cholera

Adam Lifshey

in Specters of Conquest

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780823232383
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823241187 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823232383.003.0006

Series: American Literatures Initiative

/Subjunctive America: Thomas Pynchon's Mason & Dixon and Gabriel García Márquez's Love in the Time of Cholera

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Mason is an astronomer, Dixon a surveyor, and their paired scientific skills allow them to score with mathematical precision an eerily straight border that begins south of Philadelphia and scrolls forth westward. Like all parallels, the Mason-Dixon Line is written in invisible ink, but that hardly undercuts its powers and presence. Thousands of trees disappear in its path, thousands of indigenous people, too. The mapping project, a triumph of the Age of Reason, is therefore imbued with an ongoing production of the spectral. Pynchon's Mason & Dixon, though written five centuries after Columbus's diary, shares with that text a profound preoccupation with an America created by absent presences.

Keywords: Mason & Dixon; Thomas Pynchon; America; Gabriel García Márquez; Mason-Dixon line

Chapter.  9044 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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