This is a comprehensive study of the most influential figure in postwar American literature. Over a writing career spanning more than fifty years, Thomas Pynchon has been at the forefront of America's engagement with postmodern literary possibilities. In chapters that address the full range of Pynchon's career, from his earliest short stories and first novel, V., to his most recent work, this book offers highly accessible and detailed readings of a writer whose work is indispensable to understanding how the American novel has met the challenges of postmodernity. The authors discuss Pynchon's relationship to literary history, his engagement with discourses of science and utopianism, his interrogation of imperialism and his preoccupation with the paranoid sensibility. Invaluable to Pynchon scholars and to everyone working in the field of contemporary American fiction, this study explores how Pynchon's complex narratives work both as exuberant examples of formal experimentation and as serious interventions in the political health of the nation.