Huntington Wins Thomas Pynchon Archive
|First-edition cover of V., 1963|
The Huntington has acquired the archive of Thomas Pynchon, some 70 linear feet of material spanning the inventive novelist's career from the late 1950s to the 2020s. This constitutes one of the great prizes in contemporary literature, the more so for Pynchon's reluctance to do interviews. Photos of Pynchon are rare even on the Internet. Pynchon played himself twice on The Simpsons, but his animated character wore a bag over his head.
In recent years the Huntington has faced stiff competition from the Harry Ransom Center (Austin) as well as East Coast libraries for author's archives. The press release indicates that the Huntington reached out to Pynchon and family. Son Jackson Pynchon is quoted: "When The Huntington approached us, we were excited by their aerospace and mathematics archives, and particularly attracted to their extraordinary map collection. When we learned of the scale and rigor of their independent scholarly programs, which provide exceptional resources for academic research in the humanities, we were confident that the Pynchon archive had found its home."
See write-ups in Los Angeles Times and New York Times.
Would rather have the Guston works and $10 million dollars than an archive very few people will ever see.
I hadn't heard today's announcement before reading the above comment.
WWWWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!! And YAY for New York. Per the Met's press release: "96 paintings and 124 drawings — the earliest created in 1930 and the latest made in 1980 — the collection represents the full arc of Guston’s career."
Another transformational gift for the Met.
New York becomes the mecca for Guston scholarship, as Philadelphia is for Duchamp.
Christmas came early this year!
Guston for most of his adult years was based in NYC, and he apparently had a thing for the symbolism of the Klu Klux Klan. The hooded figures he portrayed?
“They are self-portraits...I perceive myself as being behind the hood...The idea of evil fascinated me...I almost tried to imagine that I was living with the Klan."
If the artist were alive today, he'd really wow this era's influencers (including mavens of culture in the 2020s) who are increasingly pounding the drums against "white supremacy."
Guston does prove that notoriety and prominence are often very much dependent on social, cultural and political factors. And that beauty (and skill, talent, etc) are "altogether in the eye of the beholder."