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"Maiden in the Tower: 'Bordando el Manto Terrestre', Rapunzel and Oedipa in 'The Crying of Lot 49'"

Journal article
Authors Tijana Stajic
Published in American Studies in Scandinavia, publicerad av The Nordic Association for American Studies. Odense: University Press of Southern Denmark
Volume 41
Issue 2
ISSN 044-8060
Publication year 2009
Published at Department of Languages and Literatures
Language en
Keywords repression of death, profanated romance, quest, art, culture
Subject categories Specific Languages, Other Humanities not elsewhere specified

Abstract

The essay “Maiden in the Tower: 'Bordando el Manto Terrestre', Rapunzel, and Oedipa in 'The Crying of Lot 49'” focuses on Thomas Pynchon’s novel as an example of the genre of profanated romance, traced by Dennis de Rougemont who conceives of it as a variation of the Tristan legend, and relates the suffering in romance to death and self-understanding. Freud viewed the death instinct as motivator of human culture as well as human destructiveness, and my essay, anchored in Norman O. Brown’s and Ernest Becker’s interpretation of Freud’s ideas, shows how the main protagonist Oedipa Maas questions her social conditioning in her initial confrontation with Remedios Varo’s painting, a turning point in the novel, and a blueprint for other encounters with various forms of the aesthetic – a striptease performance, and a play. Those infuse and complicate her romantic quest for the execution of her lover Pierce Inverarity’s estate, finally enabling her to accept death as an integral part of life.

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