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“News from another World”: Career and Critical Responses to Cormac McCarthy

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Abstract

This article offers a short analytical overview of the career and work of Cormac McCarthy, provides a brief and necessarily selective discussion of the criticism, and suggests future directions for study. The aim of the piece is to guide those new – or relatively new – to McCarthy to the areas of the fiction, plays, films, and criticism, that will best match their interests. The article lays heavy emphasis on Cormac McCarthy’s writing style, but also recognizes the themes he develops as being of central importance in US and world culture in the early twenty-first century: war, violence, ecology, crises of masculinity, the spiritual. McCarthy’s fiction addresses these important areas in a way that is generically close to realism, but through its picaresque tendencies and almost supernatural relationship with landscape and animals, produces a vivid collection of semi-fantastic worlds that are hugely productive for reader and critic.

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