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The Pastoral Vision of Cormac McCarthy

by Georg Guillemin

Part of the Tarleton State University Southwestern Studies in the Humanities Series

The Pastoral Vision of Cormac McCarthy Synopsis

Georg Guillemin's visionary approach to the work of Western novelist Cormac McCarthy combines an overall survey of McCarthy's eight novels in print with a comprehensive analysis of the author's evolving ecopastoralism. Using in-depth textual interpretations, Guillemin argues that even McCarthy's early work is characterized less by traditional nostalgia for a lost pastoral order than by a radically egalitarian land ethic that prefigures today's ecopastoral tendencies in Western American writing. The study shows that more than any of the other landscapes evoked by McCarthy, the Southwestern desert becomes the stage for his dramatizations of a wild sense of the pastoral. McCarthy's fourth novel, Suttree, which is the only one set in an urban environment, is used in the introductory chapter to discuss the relevant compositional aspects of his fiction and the methodology of the chapters to come. The main part of the study devotes chapters to McCarthy's Southern novels, his keystone work Blood Meridian, and the Western novels known as the Border Trilogy. The concluding chapter discusses the broader context of American pastoralism and suggests that McCarthy's ecopastoralism is animistic rather than environmentalist in character. Increasingly, man ceases to be the dominant focus of narration, so that the shift from an egocentric to an ecocentric sense of self marks both the heroes and the narrators of McCarthy's novels.

The Pastoral Vision of Cormac McCarthy Press Reviews

. . . making a genuine contribution to the rather new field of McCarthy studies. I find it to be interesting, original, ambitious, sometimes brilliant. Any one of the three focuses of his argument would have made an excellent and fruitful topic; that Guillemin is able to show the symbiosis among them is just that much more impressive and valuable. --Dianne C. Luce, Midlands Technical College

Book Information

ISBN: 9781585443413
Publication date: 24th December 2018
Author: Georg Guillemin
Publisher: Texas A & M University Press
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 170 pages
Categories: Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers, Literary studies: from c 1900 -,

About Georg Guillemin

Georg Guillemin lives in Berlin and works as a freelance translator, photographer, and writer. He holds a Ph.D. in American literature.

More About Georg Guillemin

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