- Editor’s Introduction
As I write this in late May—right after my college’s graduation weekend and the end of the academic year’s busy-ness—I’m thinking about the upcoming conference in Berlin, “Crossroads and Transgressions: Cormac McCarthy between Worlds,” to be held July 7–9 at the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies and co-organized by the University of Cologne, the University of Paderborn, and the Cormac McCarthy Society. By the time this issue appears in print, participants will have already gathered to enjoy the many and various presentations and conversations—in addition, of course, to Berlin itself. As every conference generates a number of excellent submissions to CMJ, I’m also looking forward to eventually seeing some of this terrific work in print. (And here I’ll note as well that Dustin Anderson and I continue to work on organizing our next U.S. conference, which will take place September 1–3, 2017, in Austin, Texas. More details as soon as we have them on www.cormacmccarthy.com.)
This issue, in fact, includes Brian Evenson’s keynote from our 2015 conference in Memphis. Brian’s talk was an incisive consideration of McCarthy’s use of language, especially the ways that it represents the interactions of violence and bodies, and we are pleased to feature it here. Mark Steven, in turn, traces McCarthy’s language in Blood Meridian back through its precedents in John Milton and William Blake, and argues that his style is, in part, a response to capitalist accumulation. This reading fits nicely with Jonathan and Rick Elmore’s study of No Country for Old Men as a novel that portrays the convergence of economics and human nature—specifically in what they call the “anthropology of neoliberalism”—seen most prominently in the figure of Chigurh.
Robert Wylie and Jacob Agner provide considerations of two works that have still seen relatively few critical readings: The Sunset Limited, which Wylie understands as a philosophical dialogue engaging the ideas of both Kierkegaard and Schopenhauer; and The Counselor, which Agner argues is self-reflexive and self-conscious “trashy” cinema. Finally, Dianne C. Luce offers a note unpacking the [End Page 133] historical context and cultural implications of the Penitente sect’s deathcart and figure of Death seen in Blood Meridian, and Nick Lawrence reviews Matthew Potts’s recent book Cormac McCarthy and the Signs of Sacrament: Literature, Theology, and the Moral of Stories.
Enjoy, and keep in touch. [End Page 134]