The Nativity of Tyrone Slothrop
June 6, 2010 8:34 PM   Subscribe

If not otherwise specifically mentioned, do characters in epoch-shaping novels have birth dates, nativities? Did the author, for whatever literary reasons, or just for the fun of it (“mindless pleasures”), create the protagonist of the novel based on the astrological implications of some pre-imagined nativity, if not actually a definite birth date, time, and place?! Could the scholarly, serious, or curious reader benefit from knowing the horoscope of the character in question?
Paperware to Vaporware, The Nativity of Tyrone Slothrop
Hand-drawn Tyrone Slothrop Birth Chart
posted by carsonb (11 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Okay, this is WAY too esoteric for me...

but I would not be surprised to learn that Pynchon had picked out a specific date and time for Slothrop to be born for astrological reasons. He is such a puzzle fanatic and a stickler for odd details... That he may have delved this deep into his character creation without being explicit about it in his writing would, indeed, not be too far fetched.

I wonder if he's read the linked website and smiled quietly to himself as he prepared to go out for his daily walk.
posted by hippybear at 9:15 PM on June 6, 2010

I regret not forming the post in a way to showcase it more, but this admittedly ridiculously esoteric article and drawing are but one outlaying peak on a rather large iceberg of Pynchon fanaticism (mostly in German). Here's the 'index'. Gallerie. Proverbs for Paranoids.
posted by carsonb at 9:47 PM on June 6, 2010

Damn, that was just *awful*.
posted by Clave at 9:47 PM on June 6, 2010

If astrology actually worked, I expect (rich) people would have several horoscopes cast before their kids were born, for a couple of days around the prospective time of birth, work out what time and day is most optimal, and induce or delay labor accordingly. That this isn't done is another indicator that it doesn't actually work.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 9:54 PM on June 6, 2010

Thomas Pynchon, Geometer.
posted by wobh at 9:55 PM on June 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Is there any other description for Pynchon fanaticism other than "an outlaying peak on a rather large iceberg"?
posted by hippybear at 10:00 PM on June 6, 2010

You might get further with Pynchon thinking about American history and finance than you will with astrology. (Not that astrology won't help, of course ... any map does.)
posted by chavenet at 10:49 PM on June 6, 2010

I started reading that first link, but found it too dense and impenetrable. So I stopped reading it. If anyone asks I'll swear that I loved it & everyone else should read it too.

Whoa, deja vu...
posted by Dmenet at 11:22 PM on June 6, 2010

I don't know nothin' 'bout no links, but I am A Slothrop Supporter.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:54 AM on June 7, 2010

There is a great deal of emphasis in the final pages of Gravity's Rainbow on a throwing of Tarot cards for various characters.

By some odd coincidence of the stars I am a couple pages from finishing the book. I couldn't quite finish the final few pages last night before I went to sleep.
posted by Babblesort at 7:47 AM on June 7, 2010

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