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June 8, 2014

Every known picture of Thomas Pynchon [blast from the past]

Every couple years I like to feature the post below, which originally appeared on August 29, 2009 and then again on June 14, 2012.

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Yesterday's announcement that Pynchon, 75, has finally given in and will allow his books to be published in digital format was accompanied by one of the rare extant pictures of the reclusive author.

Seems like a good time to revisit the entire known photo archive of this singular artist.

This post first appeared here nearly three years ago and there have been no additions in the interim.

Not one word has been changed or omitted.

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The seven above and below, gleaned from a variety of sources, appear to comprise all that exist outside of the dark world, where no doubt there are many more — perhaps even home movies, who knows? — of the elusive writer, whose latest novel, "Inherent Vice," has just been published.

If anyone has other photos you know whom to contact.

That's right — Yosemite Sam.

But I digress.

Above, a 1953 photo from Pynchon's Oyster Bay (Long Island, New York) High School yearbook (The Oysterette), captioned: "'Pynch'; P&G Yearbook; Trade Fair 2,3; Sr. Play student director; Spanish Club 3,4; Honor Society 3, 4; likes pizza; dislikes hypocrites; pet possession, a typewriter; aspires to be a physicist."

Below,

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a second photo from that yearbook, where it appeared in the "Best Student" section and honored Pynchon for being the best male student of 1953.

Next

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is one lifted from a high school yearbook group staff photo.

Then there's this one,

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part of a staff photo for the Purple and Gold, Pynchon's high school newspaper.

Its caption reads, "The Purple and Gold has carried on the old tradition of service to the school. It has also made its own new innovations. The principal one being a column by Thomas Pynchon that has dealt with such learned subjects as the 'Life and Times of Hamster High,' a legend about a stupid knight, and, of course, the 'Boys.'"

This undated picture

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comes from Microsoft's Encarta.

The 1957 shot below

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is of the 20-year-old Pynchon at the Navy's Bainbridge, Maryland Training Center.

It was first seen in David Cowart's 1980 book, "Thomas Pynchon — The Art of Allusion."

Then there's a 41-year hiatus, until correspondent James Bone of London's Sunday Times decided to try to find him in New York City, where he'd managed to place Pynchon.

Bone succeeded, publishing the results of his quest in a June 7, 1998 article accompanied by the "paparazzi-style point-and-snap" below of Pynchon and his then seven-year-old son Jackson,

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"the first published photograph of Thomas Pynchon for more than 40 years."

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As I dimly recall after nearly five years, it took a long time to assemble this collection.

Anyone have #8?

June 8, 2014 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


Comments

Gravity has been kind to him.

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Jun 9, 2014 5:17:52 PM

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