Literary Precedents for The Crying of Lot 49

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Besides the kinds of mystery and detective story parallels noted under V. above, The Crying of Lot 49 also shares points of contact with the revenge tragedy form so beloved of Elizabethan dramatists, but with an interesting twist; in the novel, the machinations of the revengers are vaguely glimpsed by the victim, unlike the point of view of the original dramas, in which the audience was allowed to see the plotters plan their attacks. The two poles of the revenge tragedy come together when Oedipa views The Courier's Tragedy, Pynchon's parody on the revenge form, so that the effect on the reader of the novel is both laugh-provoking and chilling.

Two other parallels are not strictly literary: one is artistic and literary, the other scientific. Oedipa remembers seeing a painting (which actually exists) by the Spanish artist Remedies Varo of girls imprisoned in towers letting down their long golden...

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This section contains 262 words
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Buy The Crying of Lot 49 Study Guide
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