Slow Learner - 1994 Little, Brown & Company
This book collects Thomas Pynchon’s early short stories:
The Small Rain
- (Cornell Writer, 1958)
- (New World Writing 1960)
- (Kenyon Review 1960)
Under the Rose
- (The Noble Savage, 1961)
The Secret Integration
- (The Saturday Evening Post 1964)
The book is most notable for its introduction by Pynchon himself. Details of Pynchon beyond his books are famously lacking, but here he comes out of the shadows to comment on his own work. Entertainingly, he tells us why these stories are crap for example calling Low-lands the work of "a smart-assed jerk who didn't know any better" and apologising for the “proto-fascist” tendencies it displays.
Missing is Pynchon’s second published story Mortality and Mercy in Vienna (Epoch 1959), which one can only imagine Pynchon felt was beyond redemption.
Pynchon’s aesthetic is rather more demanding than the average - certainly more demanding than mine - and the book is more than just Pynchonalia, reaching its peak in the final story which even the author admits has its merits. But if it is Pynchonalia you are after, these stories and Pynchon’s comments together trace his development as a writer and contain many points of interest (in particular Under the Rose is an early standalone version of chapter 3 of V.)
Source: Spermatikos Logos website