Thomas Pynchon was born in Glen Cove, New York on May 8, 1937. In 1959 he graduated with a B.A. in English from Cornell, where he had taken Vladimir Nabokov's famous course in modern literature after studying engineering physics and serving in the U.S. Navy for two years. He worked as a technical writer at Boeing for two and a half years. Pynchon won the Faulkner First Novel Award for V. in 1963, and in The Crying of Lot 49 (1966), again his symbolism and commentary on the United States and human isolation have been praised as intricate and masterly, though some reviewers found it to be maddeningly dense. With this book Pynchon won the Rosenthal Foundation Award. Gravity's Rainbow, winner of the National Book Award for Fiction in 1974, is in part a fictional elegy and meditation on death and an encyclopedic work that jumps through time. Pynchon has also written numerous essays, reviews, and introductions, plus the fictional works Slow Learner, Vineland, Mason & Dixon, Against the Day, and Inherent Vice. His title Bleeding Edge made The New York Times Best Seller List for 2013. He is famous for his reclusive nature, although he has made several animated appearances on The Simpsons television series.