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Mason and Dixon

by

Mason and Dixon Cover

 

Awards

1997 The New York Times Best Book of the Year
1997 Time Magazine Best Book of the Year

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Charles Mason (1928-1786) and Jeremiah Dixon (1733-1779) were the British surveyors best remembered for running the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland that we know today as the Mason-Dixon Line. Here is their story as reimagined by Thomas Pynchon, in an updated 18th-century novel featuring Native Americans and frontier folk, ripped bodices, naval warfare, conspiracies erotic and political, and major caffeine abuse. Unreflectively entangled in crimes of demarcation, Mason and Dixon take us long on a grand tour of the Enlightenment's dark hemisphere, from their first journey together to the Cape of Good Hope, to pre-Revolutionary American and back to England, into the shadowy yet redemptive turns of their later lives, through incongruities in conscience, parallaxes of personality, tales of questionable altitude told and intimated by voices clamoring not to be lost. Along the way they encounter a plentiful cast of characters, including Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Samuel Johnson, as well as a Chinese feng shui master, a Swedish irredentist, a talking dog, and a robot duck. The quarrelsome, daring, mismatched pair - Mason as melancholy and Gothic as Dixon is cheerful and pre-Romantic - pursue a linear narrative of irregular lives, observing, and managing to participate in, the many occasions of madness presented them by the Age of Reason.

Review:

"A novel that is as moving as it is cerebral, as poignant as it is daring...a book that testifies to Pynchon's remarkable powers of invention and his sheer power as a storyteller." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Review:

"An astonishing and wonderful book". The New York Review of Books

Review:

"Splendid. Mason & Dixon — like Huckleberry Finn, like Ulysses — is one of the great novels about friendship in anybody's literature." John Leonard, The Nation

Synopsis:

The New York Times Best Book of the Year, 1997

Time Magazine Best Book of the Year 1997

Charles Mason (1728-1786) and Jeremiah Dixon (1733-1779) were the British surveyors best remembered for running the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland that we know today as the Mason-Dixon Line. Here is their story as re-imagined by Thomas Pynchon, featuring Native Americans and frontier folk, ripped bodices, naval warfare, conspiracies erotic and political, major caffeine abuse. We follow the mismatch'd pair--one rollicking, the other depressive; one Gothic, the other pre-Romantic--from their first journey together to the Cape of Good Hope, to pre-Revolutionary America and back, through the strange yet redemptive turns of fortune in their later lives, on a grand tour of the Enlightenment's dark hemisphere, as they observe and participate in the many opportunities for insanity presented them by the Age of Reason.

Synopsis:

The New York Times Best Book of the Year, 1997

Time Magazine Best Book of the Year 1997

Charles Mason (1728-1786) and Jeremiah Dixon (1733-1779) were the British surveyors best remembered for running the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland that we know today as the Mason-Dixon Line. Here is their story as re-imagined by Thomas Pynchon, featuring Native Americans and frontier folk, ripped bodices, naval warfare, conspiracies erotic and political, major caffeine abuse. We follow the mismatch'd pair--one rollicking, the other depressive; one Gothic, the other pre-Romantic--from their first journey together to the Cape of Good Hope, to pre-Revolutionary America and back, through the strange yet redemptive turns of fortune in their later lives, on a grand tour of the Enlightenment's dark hemisphere, as they observe and participate in the many opportunities for insanity presented them by the Age of Reason.

Thomas Pynchon is the author of V., The Crying of Lot 49, Gravitys Rainbow, Slow Learner (a collection of stories), and Vineland. He received the National Book Award for Gravitys Rainbow in 1974.

The New York Times Best Book of the Year

Time Magazine Best Book of the Year

Charles Mason (1728-1786) and Jeremiah Dixon (1733-1779) were the British surveyors best remembered for running the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland that we know today as the Mason-Dixon Line. Here is their story is told by the celebrated contemporary novelist Thomas Pynchon, in an updated 18th-century saga featuring Native Americans and frontier folk, ripped bodices, naval warfare, conspiracies both erotic and political, and major caffeine abuse.

Unreflectively entangled in crimes of demarcation, Mason and Dixon take us along on a grand tour of the Enlightenment's dark hemisphere, from their first journey together to the Cape of Good Hope, to pre-Revolutionary America, and back to England; into the shadowy yet redemptive turns of their later lives; through incongruities in conscience, parallaxes of personality, and tales of questionable altitude told and intimated by voices clamoring not to be lost.

Along the way they encounter a plentiful cast of characters, including Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Samuel Johnson, as well as a Chinese feng shui master, a Swedish irredentist, a talking dog, and a robot duck. The quarrelsome, daring, wholly mismatched pairMason as melancholy and Gothic as Dixon is cheerful and pre-Romanticpursue a linear narrative of irregular lives, observing (and managing to participate in) the many and varied occasions of madness presented them by the Age of Reason.

“A novel that is as moving as it is cerebral, as poignant as it is daring . . . A book that testifies to Pynchons powers of invention and his sheer power as a storyteller.”Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

"The style is playful, a pastiche redolent of the musty journal and the capitalomania of the day, bumptiously Fieldingesque, and yet as pumped-up and heightened and chock-full of late-20th-century references as the dernier cri from the street. It is wonderfully subversive. In fact, almost all the book's humor is balanced on the razor edge of anachronism, creating a rich stew of accepted and invented history, anecdote, myth and hyperbole. There are precedents hereJohn Barth, Robert Coover, Günter Grass, Gabriel García Márquez, E.L. Doctorow and, of course, the Thomas Pynchon of Gravity's Rainbow and V."T. Coraghessan Boyle, The New York Times Book Review

"It is the vision itself that one takes away from this remarkable book: a wilderness America, peopled as much by European hopes and longings as by the interlocking kingdoms of the indigenous; a virgin, undivided land. Until, one morning, two ordinary men appear, charged with cutting a perfectly straight line, eight yards wide, westward into its heart . . . It is a moment of surpassing beauty and sadness, a glimpse of something whose sense we can never take for granted or be lastingly done witheven when, as here, it has occasioned a masterpiece."Ted Mooney, Los Angeles Times Sunday Book Review

"An astonishing and wonderful book."The New York Review of Books

"Splendid . . . Mason & Dixonlike Huckleberry Finn, like Ulyssesis one of the great novels about friendship in anybody's literature."John Leonard, The Nation

“An amazing achievement, certainly the novel of the year, possibly the novel of our time.”Robert L. McLaughlin,

i Review of Contemporary Fiction

"Pynchon, an elusive, erudite, and manic satirist, has weighed in with another big book, another romp through the wild frontier of his imagination. As he did in his most celebrated work, Gravity's Rainbow (1973), and in Vineland (1990), Pynchon explores the paradoxes of a transitional era, this time harking back to the mid-eighteenth century and the so-called Age of Reason. His heroes are the English astronomers Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, the men responsible for establishing the Mason-Dixon line, and who, in his magic-making hands, embody their time's eager devotion to logic and precision even in the face of life's daunting chaos. As Pynchon chronicles their cultural and scientific adventures from their first meeting in London through their journey to Sumatra and the arduous surveying of the famous boundary line that carries their names, he considers such complex issues as colonization, slavery, the massacre of American Indians, and the conflicts between religion and science. But he also has fun, gleefully improvising on the assertive language of the time, taking sly liberties with the lives and personalities of the melancholy Mason and carefree Dixon, reveling in the buzz of pubs and coffeehouses, and animating a great cast of whimsical secondary characters. While Mason and Dixon survive all manner of extremes in weather, terrain, and human behavior, Pynchon transforms their world into a fun-house-mirror reflection of our own, reminding us that we still search for meaning in celestial events, that racism is still alive and virulent, and that friendship and love can and do transcend the dividing lines of prejudice and politics."Donna Seaman, Booklist

About the Author

Thomas Pynchon is the author of V., The Crying of Lot 49, Gravitys Rainbow, Slow Learner, a collection of stories, and Vineland. He received the National Book Award for Gravitys Rainbow in 1974.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780805058376
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Pynchon, Thomas
Publisher:
Holt Paperbacks
Location:
New York
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Novels and novellas
Subject:
American fiction (fictional works by one author)
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Frontier and pioneer life
Subject:
Historical fiction
Subject:
British
Subject:
Surveying
Subject:
Biographical fiction
Subject:
Surveyors.
Subject:
American fiction (fictional works by one auth
Subject:
General Fiction
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st Owl Book ed.
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series Volume:
no.
Publication Date:
19980415
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
784
Dimensions:
6.20 x 9.25 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Mason and Dixon Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.50 In Stock
Product details 784 pages Holt Paperbacks - English 9780805058376 Reviews:
"Review" by , "A novel that is as moving as it is cerebral, as poignant as it is daring...a book that testifies to Pynchon's remarkable powers of invention and his sheer power as a storyteller."
"Review" by , "An astonishing and wonderful book".
"Review" by , "Splendid. Mason & Dixon — like Huckleberry Finn, like Ulysses — is one of the great novels about friendship in anybody's literature."
"Synopsis" by ,
The New York Times Best Book of the Year, 1997

Time Magazine Best Book of the Year 1997

Charles Mason (1728-1786) and Jeremiah Dixon (1733-1779) were the British surveyors best remembered for running the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland that we know today as the Mason-Dixon Line. Here is their story as re-imagined by Thomas Pynchon, featuring Native Americans and frontier folk, ripped bodices, naval warfare, conspiracies erotic and political, major caffeine abuse. We follow the mismatch'd pair--one rollicking, the other depressive; one Gothic, the other pre-Romantic--from their first journey together to the Cape of Good Hope, to pre-Revolutionary America and back, through the strange yet redemptive turns of fortune in their later lives, on a grand tour of the Enlightenment's dark hemisphere, as they observe and participate in the many opportunities for insanity presented them by the Age of Reason.

"Synopsis" by ,
The New York Times Best Book of the Year, 1997

Time Magazine Best Book of the Year 1997

Charles Mason (1728-1786) and Jeremiah Dixon (1733-1779) were the British surveyors best remembered for running the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland that we know today as the Mason-Dixon Line. Here is their story as re-imagined by Thomas Pynchon, featuring Native Americans and frontier folk, ripped bodices, naval warfare, conspiracies erotic and political, major caffeine abuse. We follow the mismatch'd pair--one rollicking, the other depressive; one Gothic, the other pre-Romantic--from their first journey together to the Cape of Good Hope, to pre-Revolutionary America and back, through the strange yet redemptive turns of fortune in their later lives, on a grand tour of the Enlightenment's dark hemisphere, as they observe and participate in the many opportunities for insanity presented them by the Age of Reason.

Thomas Pynchon is the author of V., The Crying of Lot 49, Gravitys Rainbow, Slow Learner (a collection of stories), and Vineland. He received the National Book Award for Gravitys Rainbow in 1974.

The New York Times Best Book of the Year

Time Magazine Best Book of the Year

Charles Mason (1728-1786) and Jeremiah Dixon (1733-1779) were the British surveyors best remembered for running the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland that we know today as the Mason-Dixon Line. Here is their story is told by the celebrated contemporary novelist Thomas Pynchon, in an updated 18th-century saga featuring Native Americans and frontier folk, ripped bodices, naval warfare, conspiracies both erotic and political, and major caffeine abuse.

Unreflectively entangled in crimes of demarcation, Mason and Dixon take us along on a grand tour of the Enlightenment's dark hemisphere, from their first journey together to the Cape of Good Hope, to pre-Revolutionary America, and back to England; into the shadowy yet redemptive turns of their later lives; through incongruities in conscience, parallaxes of personality, and tales of questionable altitude told and intimated by voices clamoring not to be lost.

Along the way they encounter a plentiful cast of characters, including Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Samuel Johnson, as well as a Chinese feng shui master, a Swedish irredentist, a talking dog, and a robot duck. The quarrelsome, daring, wholly mismatched pairMason as melancholy and Gothic as Dixon is cheerful and pre-Romanticpursue a linear narrative of irregular lives, observing (and managing to participate in) the many and varied occasions of madness presented them by the Age of Reason.

“A novel that is as moving as it is cerebral, as poignant as it is daring . . . A book that testifies to Pynchons powers of invention and his sheer power as a storyteller.”Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

"The style is playful, a pastiche redolent of the musty journal and the capitalomania of the day, bumptiously Fieldingesque, and yet as pumped-up and heightened and chock-full of late-20th-century references as the dernier cri from the street. It is wonderfully subversive. In fact, almost all the book's humor is balanced on the razor edge of anachronism, creating a rich stew of accepted and invented history, anecdote, myth and hyperbole. There are precedents hereJohn Barth, Robert Coover, Günter Grass, Gabriel García Márquez, E.L. Doctorow and, of course, the Thomas Pynchon of Gravity's Rainbow and V."T. Coraghessan Boyle, The New York Times Book Review

"It is the vision itself that one takes away from this remarkable book: a wilderness America, peopled as much by European hopes and longings as by the interlocking kingdoms of the indigenous; a virgin, undivided land. Until, one morning, two ordinary men appear, charged with cutting a perfectly straight line, eight yards wide, westward into its heart . . . It is a moment of surpassing beauty and sadness, a glimpse of something whose sense we can never take for granted or be lastingly done witheven when, as here, it has occasioned a masterpiece."Ted Mooney, Los Angeles Times Sunday Book Review

"An astonishing and wonderful book."The New York Review of Books

"Splendid . . . Mason & Dixonlike Huckleberry Finn, like Ulyssesis one of the great novels about friendship in anybody's literature."John Leonard, The Nation

“An amazing achievement, certainly the novel of the year, possibly the novel of our time.”Robert L. McLaughlin,

i Review of Contemporary Fiction

"Pynchon, an elusive, erudite, and manic satirist, has weighed in with another big book, another romp through the wild frontier of his imagination. As he did in his most celebrated work, Gravity's Rainbow (1973), and in Vineland (1990), Pynchon explores the paradoxes of a transitional era, this time harking back to the mid-eighteenth century and the so-called Age of Reason. His heroes are the English astronomers Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, the men responsible for establishing the Mason-Dixon line, and who, in his magic-making hands, embody their time's eager devotion to logic and precision even in the face of life's daunting chaos. As Pynchon chronicles their cultural and scientific adventures from their first meeting in London through their journey to Sumatra and the arduous surveying of the famous boundary line that carries their names, he considers such complex issues as colonization, slavery, the massacre of American Indians, and the conflicts between religion and science. But he also has fun, gleefully improvising on the assertive language of the time, taking sly liberties with the lives and personalities of the melancholy Mason and carefree Dixon, reveling in the buzz of pubs and coffeehouses, and animating a great cast of whimsical secondary characters. While Mason and Dixon survive all manner of extremes in weather, terrain, and human behavior, Pynchon transforms their world into a fun-house-mirror reflection of our own, reminding us that we still search for meaning in celestial events, that racism is still alive and virulent, and that friendship and love can and do transcend the dividing lines of prejudice and politics."Donna Seaman, Booklist

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