Thomas Pynchon is the famously reclusive author of Gravity’s Rainbow, V, The Crying Of Lot 59, and a long list of other works. In a brilliant coup, he sent Professor Irwin Corey, the double talking comedian (‘Wherever you go, there you are’) to stand in for him when given the National Book Award for Gravity’s Rainbow.
Spermatikos Logos, V is for Vaudeville - Professor Irwin Corey
Professor Irwin Corey’s Pynchon connection is apocryphal. Here’s how it is described by famous New York writer and newspaper columnist Jim Knipfel:
One of Corey’s most notorious public appearances came on April 18, 1974, when he showed up at Alice Tully Hall to accept the National Book Award for Gravity’s Rainbow on behalf of Thomas Pynchon.
'Thomas Guinzberg [of the Viking Press] first suggested the idea,' he says, 'and Pynchon approved it.'
So, after being mis-introduced (as ‘Robert Corey’), the little man with the wild hair and the rumpled suit walked to the podium and addressed some of the most esteemed figures in American publishing and literature:
'However…I accept this financial stipulation–ah–stipend in behalf of Richard Python for the great contribution which to quote from some of the missiles which he has contributed… Today we must all be aware that protocol takes precedence over procedure. However you say–WHAT THE–what does this mean…in relation to the tabulation whereby we must once again realize that the great fiction story is now being rehearsed before our very eyes, in the Nixon administration…indicating that only an American writer can receive…the award for fiction, unlike Solzinitski whose fiction does not hold water.
Comrades–friends, we are gathered here not only to accept in behalf of one recluse–one who has found that the world in itself which seems to be a time not of the toad–to quote Studs TurKAL. And many people ask ‘Who are Studs TurKAL?’ It’s not ‘Who are Studs TurKAL?’ it’s ‘Who AM Studs TurKAL?’…’
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