Blood Meridian exists in a world, or worlds, apart from any we know, present or past, a world(s) we envision as emerging forth from the mists of a recent current of revisionist histories. One of these worlds creates a new twentieth-century history for an old nineteenth-century world, in which the unimaginable violence of our time might be reconciled with that of the past; another world or zone of Blood Meridian acts as a retelling of western expansion under the ostensibly swaying flag of a colonial manifest destiny. McCarthy's novel is history, but it is also myth, both narratively and stylistically, although the myth he creates runs concurrent and, importantly, through the realities of a revisionist West. Beyond the violence, the most troubling and unsettling feature of Blood Meridian is the creation of these multiple fictional zones, reproduced simultaneously and unbearably; McCarthy's text creates a postmodern heterotopian zone in which multiple disparate spaces come to exist impossibly together, leaving him to dispatch a gang of historical figures into a neomythic, postapocalyptic, and postmodern unreality that is and is not Texas, that is and is not the West.


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pp. 140-156
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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