Re: RARA-AVIS: "Blood Meridian" by Cormac McCarthy

From: Brian Thornton (
Date: 13 Jul 2009

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    Let me just get in line to be flamed alongside you, James. I agree with your broader comments regarding McCarthy's style, and the pretentiousness of his writing.


    On Mon, Jul 13, 2009 at 8:33 AM, James Michael Rogers <>wrote:

    > I was waiting for this to come up with some trepidation because I found
    > McCarthy to be very poor stylist. I realize I am swimming upstream here, as
    > the critics just love him. Makes one wonder how far Jim Thompson could have
    > gone had he been writing in the right decade. It seems to me to be a mixture
    > of bad Celine, bad Hemingway and bad Stephen King. In fact, thematically,
    > Blood Meridian is quite comparable to King's The Dark Tower. That's not a
    > compliment, except insofar as the King book is marginally less pretentious.
    > There used to be a great article on the web called "This Is No Country For
    > Old Copy Editors" that just annhilated McCarthy's style from the
    > old-fashioned, technical standpoint as well as from the perspective of the
    > sterility of his descriptive powers. The only other time I've seen anyone
    > get treatment that harsh was when John Gardner trashed Harlan Ellison's
    > writing. The article doesn't seem to be available on-line any longer but if
    > anyone has a copy I would love to read it again.
    > Further, I have become quite weary of the kind of self-conscious
    > mythologizing of the west that is so fashionable these days. I couldn't
    > stand it in Welcome to Hard Times, either, so I can't blame that just on
    > McCarthy. But I think it's easier to do that sort of thing than it is to
    > come up with credible dialogue and strong characters. I mean is the
    > protagonist of Blood Meridian anything more than a cipher?
    > I'm prepared to be more or less flamed for this opinion. As I no longer
    > have a copy of Blood Meridian, I apologize in advance for not being able to
    > currrently engage in the kind of close textual analysis that I am
    > recommending. It's just my two cents anyway.
    > James
    > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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