"The distant pandemonium of the sun" : the novels of Cormac McCarthy
Chapter One: (pp. 1 -87) Landscape, Society and the Individual in Cormac McCarthy's Novels This chapter considers the incursion of a form of Emersonian transcendentalism in the earlier Southern novels. The second part focuses on the Western novels and includes discussion of the relationship between man and nature and the influence of the ideologies which underpin both nationalism and Manifest Destiny. The gradual conflation of landscape and text in the western novels, the increasing internalisation of landscape and the tendency towards erasure that threatens to subsume/ absorb the traveller/ narrator, are also addressed. Chapter Two: (pp. 88 - 147) A Consideration of Corpses: Literary and Cinematic Autopsy in Cormac McCarthy's Prose The second chapter examines the various narratorial strategies employed by McCarthy, focusing on the image of the corpse in his first three novels. The influence of Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne and James Joyce on McCarthy's narrative strategy and the role of the 'author' in his work are considered in the introduction. In The Orchard Keeper, the position of the reader as 'spectator' is examined and finds that the anamorphosis of the narrative style mimics cinematographic changes in perspective and point of view. The voice of a sadistic and misogynist narrator is addressed with reference to Child of God, which also draws on feminist theories of voyeurism and scopophilia. The relationship between the author and the 'spectator/ reader' is related to classic films (Hitchcock's Psycho and Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver, for example) and issue of identification practices and specular relations are discussed with reference to film theory. The depiction of 'death hilarious' in Outer Dark compares McCarthy's conflation of horror and humour with both the earlier prose of Flannery O'Connor and contemporary cinema.