Religion in Cormac McCarthy’s Fiction
Routledge – 2014 – 180 pages
This book addresses the religious scope of Cormac McCarthy’s fiction, one of the most controversial issues in studies of his work. Current criticism is divided between those who find a theological dimension in his works, and those who reject such an approach on the grounds that the nihilist discourse characteristic of his narrative is incompatible with any religious message. McCarthy’s tendencies toward religious themes have become increasingly more acute, revealing that McCarthy has adopted the biblical language and rhetoric to compose an "apocryphal" narrative of the American Southwest while exploring the human innate tendency to evil in the line of Herman Melville and William Faulkner, both literary progenitors of the writer. Broncano argues that this apocryphal narrative is written against the background of the Bible, a peculiar Pentateuch in which Blood Meridian functions as the Book of Genesis, the Border Trilogy functions as the Gospels, and No Country for Old Men as the Book of Revelation, while The Road is the post-apocalyptic sequel. This book analyzes the novels included in what Broncano defines as the South-Western cycle (from Blood Meridian to The Road) in search of the religious foundations that support the narrative architecture of the texts.
Foreword, Rick Wallach Introduction. Cormac McCarthy’s Religious Enigma 1. The World as a Tale: Preliminary Considerations in Theory 2. Genesis of a Cursed Territory: Blood Meridian 3. Cicatrices and Wounds on the Skin of History: All the Pretty Horses 4. Of Knights and Wolves and Witnesses: The Crossing 5. The Virgin, the Whore, the Pimp, and the Monk: Cities of the Plain 6. The Devil’s Territory Revisited: No Country for Old Men 7. Grocery Shopping in the Commissary of Hell: The Road Epilogue. The Tale of a World that Was
Manuel Broncano is Professor of American Literature and Chair of the Department of Language and Literature at Texas A&M International University, US