- Editor’s Introduction
Cormac McCarthy scholars most recently gathered in Austin, Texas, in September 2017, and as always the conference was evidence of the ways our field is expanding and changing. Presentations over three days covered a number of topics, including film adaptations, new uses of the archives, experiences teaching McCarthy in a variety of contexts, and McCarthy’s recent essay “The Kekulé Problem,” on language, evolution, and the unconscious. I’ll note that the British Society for Phenomenology and Nottingham Trent University beat us to the punch on the latter, hosting a July conference “Cormac McCarthy and Philosophy” that was devoted in particular to a discussion of “Kekulé.” Their excellent papers are available as podcasts, linked here: http://www.britishphenomenology.org.uk/cormac-mccarthy-workshop/.
With this issue, as always, there’s still more to talk about. Dianne Luce offers a fascinating reading of Outer Dark, drawing on evidence of the emotional and professional difficulties that McCarthy experienced during its composition; she argues that the novel can be understood as a reflection of that personal grief and loss. Brent Ryan Bellamy analyzes The Road in the context of feminist and queer theories focusing on the post-apocalypse, noting the novel’s narrative impasse in its depiction of women—it banishes them, but needs them to imagine a future. Mitchell Ploskonka provides a welcome reading of James Robert, also known as “the idiot,” in Blood Meridian, through the lens of disability studies, and, finally, Lauren Brown turns her attention to that novel and its other seemingly “ungrievable lives,” who exist and resist despite the judge’s attempts at a totalizing gaze and control.
And we continue to keep up with all the recent books on McCarthy, this time including reviews of James Dorson’s Counternarrative Possibilities and Ty Hawkin’s Cormac McCarthy’s Philosophy.
Enjoy, and keep in touch! [End Page 1]