restricted access "Gravity rushes through him": Volk and Fetish in Pynchon's Rilke

This paper deals with a central but overlooked and misunderstood concern in Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow (1973): the influence of Rainer Maria Rilke, especially his Sonnets to Orpheus and Duino Elegies (1922). This study uses contextual and exegetical methods to consider how Pynchon uses Rilke alongside and through his characters to engage critically with the poet's late work, reading it to explore wider issues. Weimar bourgeois irrationality as preparation for Nazism; the redundancy of German existentialism; and Rilke's neo-Romanticism as the representative of a volkisch culture unconsciously rooted in the fetish of the commodity, all come under scrutiny.