Douglas Kløvedal Lannark:
Paperware to Vaporware, The Nativity of Tyrone Slothrop

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?

As a life-long non-commercial yet internationally published and globally recognized astrologer who enjoys reading challenging contemporary novels, this astro-literary question has intrigued me since the 1960s. After extensive textual research I will now present my plausibly assumed deductions concerning the Nativity of Tyrone Slothrop as indicated by the various written references, facts, hints, and events in Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon. Thomas Pynchon himself was born during a Sun-Uranus conjunction – placing the author under the aspect of astrology per se – on May 8, 1937 in Glen Clove, Long Island, New York sometime in the morning. But what does morning mean – sometime between 6-10 a.m.? (Perhaps someday I will attempt to erect his nativity; however, presently we are investigating Pynchon’s lyrical and astrological projections on his foremost protagonist, Tyrone Slothrop).

In the novels of Thomas Pynchon there are numerous references to astrology, these culminating in his latest novel “Mason & Dixon!” Whether the reader should take them seriously or not is either an academic or an individual subjective matter. As a traditional astrologer of the classic (and oral!) school, I most certainly do! I even read Pynchon’s novels with a trained astrologer’s eye. The “Astrologer” in me genuinely feels that Thomas Pynchon has a deep sympathy for astrology and utilizes it in his novels not only to depict a stylistic postmodern binary along the lines of superstition vs. science, symbolism vs. realism, true vs. false, etc., but also as a literary expansion, suggestive association, and self-identification of many characters in his novels.

It is far from my intention to over-estimate the presence of astrology and astrological references in the works of Thomas Pynchon – there are so many other areas of much greater importance in these novels which deserve, and have received, an adequate amount of scholarly elaboration. (It would be interesting to know just how many Ph.D.’s on the works of Thomas Pynchon have been submitted and granted!). To my limited knowledge, and it is truly limited on both a literary-research and InterNet-source level, I am nevertheless under the impression that no one has yet approached the writings of Thomas Pynchon from an astrological point of view. I, too, will refrain from this broader scholastic endeavor, leaving it to some aspiring post-graduate student in the future (if it has not been accomplished already). May the “Great Spirit” be with him or her . . . and with these future blessings from a devoted astrologer!

After decades of reading and re-reading Gravity’s Rainbow (I read it initially in 1973 and even then noted, with a smile in my soul, the many astrological references), I just recently came upon the idea, received the inspiration, and was enthusiastically encouraged by a few highly-renowned literature scholars, Pynchon experts, and InterNet buddies to cast a plausible birth horoscope (nativity) for Tyrone Slothrop. There are references enough, major and minor, in Gravity’s Rainbow enabling any qualified experienced astrologer who reads the book at least three times with an astrologer’s eye to deduct, come to a credible conclusion, and feel confident about the birth date (the nativity) of Tyrone Slothrop. The assumed date can easily be checked (controlled, verified) by progressions, transits, solar returns, and other specific techniques. But I’d prefer not to burden you with too much professional astrological jargon. Let’s start with the documented references in Gravity’s Rainbow, page for page.

After references to the nine or ten generations of Slothrop’s male ancestors, each one except his original forefather having seen the Hand of God [26-7], various chronological hints relating to his age are placed throughout the narrative:

– in 1920 the conditioning of Infant Tyrone [84],

– in April 1931 young Tyrone visiting his aunt and uncle … big and little cousins too [29],

– growing up in the thirties not knowing quite what to think of the family witch [330],

– Father/Son fatal complex as typical American teenager in the thirties [674],

– in 1939 Harvard boy Tyrone vomiting beer in the men’s room at the Roseland Ballroom together with classmate Jack (JFK) Kennedy [63, 688],

– in London, September 1944 believing that there is a (V-2) rocket with his name on it [25],

– in February 1945 at Raoul’s Party receiving a Zoot Suit Size 42, medium [246],

– in March 1945 realizing that his father made a deal some 20 years ago (1924-25) and uncle Lyle picking young Tyrone up and swinging him around by his feet [285-6],

– in July 1945 an obituary vision … ”Died, Rocketman, pushing 30, in the Zone, of lust” [463],

– in the Autumn of 1945 “past Slothrops, say averaging on a day, ten thousand of them” [624].

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© all rights reserved, alle Rechte beim Autor, Douglas Kløvedal Lannark, Kopenhagen und Berlin, 2000-2005.

Links zu Douglas Kløvedal Lannark:

Douglas Kløvedal Lannark: MASON & DIXON: An Astrological Review — on this server.

Douglas Kløvedal Lannark: Hand–drawn Chart of Tyrone Slothrop — on this server.

Douglas Kløvedal Lannark: Venus Rules — Love — on this server.

The Fifth Gate – A documentary by Bente Milton: “Douglas Lannark is an acclaimed astrologer and expert in the various calendar systems used around the world.”

Douglas Kløvedal Lannark: Wann beginnt das neue Jahrtausend ? Kalender und Zeitrechnung – Meridian, 21.Jhg. 1999 / Heft 6.

Index Hauptseite Vorwort Die Parabel Dekonstruktion Michael D. Bell Summary Biographie Richard Fariña Robert Frost Galerie Literatur Luddism Mason & Dixon Monographien u. Aufsätze Patterns–Muster Proverbs for Paranoids Schweine Slow Learner Soccer Sterblichkeit und Erbarmen in Wien Vineland Weblinks Weiterführende Literatur The Wizard of Oz Fay Wray The Zero Homepage Seitenanfang/page up

© Otto Sell – Wednesday, February 21, 2001
Last update Sunday, March 26, 2006


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