Cormac McCarthy's Poetics of Craftsmanship: Collaborating with Medical Advisers in the Writing of The Crossing

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Abstract

“The work is everything,” says Ben, the main character of McCarthy’s play The Stonemason, summing up his grandfather Papaw’s view of the craft of the stonemason as the ground of beauty, justice, and truth. Judging from McCarthy’s inclination to indulge in extended descriptions of all sorts of labors and crafts he must, at least in part, agree with his character. As has been noted elsewhere, craftsmanship is a privileged theme in Cormac McCarthy’s oeuvre, and the available archival material proves that the author has always been meticulous in gathering information about the crafts he has set himself to describe, undertaking extensive bibliographical research in all technical aspects and at times seeking help from specialist advisers. Relying on some manuscripts and letters held at the Wittliff Collections in San Marcos, Texas, this article investigates the way McCarthy collaborated with two specialist medical advisers, Dr. Oren Ellis and Dr. Barry King, in the writing of a scene of his novel The Crossing. The intention is to provide insight into McCarthy’s creative process and to further understand the way descriptions of crafts integrate within his overall poetics in what can be defined as an attempt to oversaturate the representation of reality.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)65-77
Numero di pagine13
RivistaTHE CORMAC MCCARTHY JOURNAL
Volume20
DOI
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2022

Keywords

  • McCarthy, Cormac
  • Work and Labor in Literature
  • Craftsmanship
  • Medicine and Literature

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