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The Implicated Neoliberal Subject in Thomas Pynchon's Bleeding Edge

Stacy, Ivan; Keeble, Arin


Ivan Stacy


This article argues that in Bleeding Edge, Pynchon moves from an oppositional schema in which the world is divided into elect and preterite populations towards one that is concerned with implication and complicity. The article uses Michael Rothberg 's The Implicated Subject as the basis for analysis, and notably his argument that to be implicated in wrongdoing often involves a kind of structural blindness towards suffering elsewhere. In the case of Bleeding Edge, the protagonist, Maxine Tarnow, is implicated in the violence committed in order to secure the hegemony of neoliberalism. The article describes Maxine 's gradual recognition of her own blindness, and hence of her implication in the harms perpetrated in the name of neoliberalism. It begins by noting that her experience of neoliberalism is one of process and of immaterial exchange. The second part of the article argues that the introduction of Nicholas Windust shows how neoliberalism may be an experience of rupture or trauma for those outside the developed world. Finally, with the attacks on New York, the same violence rebounds against its source; the attacks therefore act as the final stage in Maxine's increasing awareness of her own implication.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 23, 2021
Online Publication Date Jul 22, 2021
Publication Date 2022-05
Deposit Date Jul 22, 2021
Publicly Available Date Jul 22, 2021
Journal Journal of American Studies
Print ISSN 0021-8758
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 56
Issue 2
Pages 320-347
Keywords Neoliberalism, Complicity, Implication, 9/11, Pynchon, Trauma
Public URL
Publisher URL


The Implicated Neoliberal Subject In Thomas Pynchon's Bleeding Edge (accepted version) (368 Kb)

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