McCarthy Society Updates
It is with great sadness but also with deep gratitude that we mourn the loss of Cormac McCarthy. His contributions to literature, and to our lives, have been momentous. McCarthy was one of the most notable authors of his or indeed any generation. In his long, rich life, lived in places as various as Knoxville, Santa Fe, and Ibiza, his voracious curiosity led him equally to the most abstract ideas and the most downtrodden of barflies, all the cracks and corners of human thought and experience, our endless potential for both coming together and violently wrenching apart. He never compromised his devotion to the beauty of language and the necessary art of storytelling. He leaves behind an extraordinary body of work, tapestries of character, history, philosophy, environment, and the moral questions that pull at all of us.
Stacey Peebles, President
Lydia Cooper, Vice President
CFP: Southwest Popular/American Culture Association
Annual Conference Feb. 21-24, 2024
Submissions open on September 1, 2023
Proposal submission deadline: October 31, 2023
Paper proposals welcome on any aspect of Cormac McCarthy's work. All proposals must be submitted through the conference’s database, http://register.southwestpca.org/southwestpca.
American Literature Association 35th Annual Conference
May 23-26, 2024
The Palmer House Hilton
17 East Monroe Street
Chicago, IL 60603
The Cormac McCarthy Society welcomes proposals for papers on any topic related to Cormac McCarthy’s works—we generally sponsor multiple panels at the conference.
Due Date: January 1, 2024
Please send abstracts to Steven Frye at firstname.lastname@example.org
Society Officers on McCarthy's Legacy
Bill Hardwig on “Cormac McCarthy’s Fearless Approach to Writing,” in The Conversation, June 16, 2023.
Steven Frye interviewed by the Australian Broadcasting Network for a piece called “A Giant in the Shadows.”
Honoring the Legacy of Cormac McCarthy
Books and Bridges
Thursday, June 22, 7:30 – 8:30 EST (5:30 – 6:30 MT)
A Conversation with Stacey Peebles
For more information about this Zoom event, and to register, click here.
John Hillcoat Tackles Blood Meridian
The film studio New Regency has announced that John Hillcoat will adapt Blood Meridian for the screen, with both McCarthy and his son John Francis McCarthy serving as executive producers on the project. Hillcoat has said that the screenplay would be “at least co-written” by McCarthy, according to an interview with The Playlist.
Wittliff Collections Acquires New Recordings
The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University, home of the Cormac McCarthy Papers, has acquired recordings made by journalist Richard Woodward when he was interviewing McCarthy in 1992. Woodward was working on the New York Times article that accompanied McCarthy’s rise to fame, “Cormac McCarthy’s Venomous Fiction.” The interviews took place over a few days, and total nearly four hours of conversation. Read more about the materials, and how to access them, here.
Karol Jalochowski Releases 2017 Interview with McCarthy and David Krakauer
In 2017, fillmmaker Karol Jalochowski filmed McCarthy talking with David Krakauer, the President of the Santa Fe Institute, in the library of the SFI. He's now released that footage, over an hour of conversation between the two, and you can watch it here.
Society Folks in the News
Among the many news pieces about McCarthy's new novels, a couple have featured some familiar names! This New York Times article from October 14, 2022 quotes Rick Wallach and features one of Beowulf Sheehan's photos, and this NPR segment from October 22, 2022 has comments from Dianne Luce, Bryan Giemza, Lydia Cooper, and Stacey Peebles.
The Cormac McCarthy Journal Publishes Never-Before-Seen Interviews with McCarthy
Dianne C. Luce and Zachary Turpin have discovered five previously unknown interviews with McCarthy, and reprint those along with five other obscure interviews in a new CMJ article, "Cormac McCarthy's Interviews in Tennessee and Kentucky, 1968-1980." You can see the article for free, and read the full text of the interviews, until late December on Penn State UP's website. On September 30, the New York Times ran a piece about the interviews, which you can read here.
Society Establishes the Chip Arnold Research Award
The Cormac McCarty Society announces a new research award to help undergraduate and graduate students attend conferences and undertake research on McCarthy. This award honors Edwin T. “Chip” Arnold, the first President of the Cormac McCarthy Society from 1993 to 1998; editor, with Dianne C. Luce, of the collections Perspectives on Cormac McCarthy and A Cormac McCarthy Companion: The Border Trilogy; as well as a colleague, mentor, and dear friend. We’re also happy to accept donations to help support this award. Click here to read more about the award!
New Photos of McCarthy
Renowned photographer Beowulf Sheehan has taken McCarthy's most recent author photos, some of which can be seen on McCarthy's upcoming novels and in Beowulf's 2018 book Author: The Portraits of Beowulf Sheehan. With his permission, we're using a selection of never-before-seen images on this website, and we ran an interview with Beowulf in the Fall 2022 issue of the Cormac McCarthy Journal.
McCarthy Gives a Charming Little Interview
Lithub recently reported on two enterprising high school students who, in 2014, were tasked with giving a presentation to their AP English class on All the Pretty Horses. It turned out that they had a connection to the author, and so arranged to send him a list of questions—which he answered through a friend. Let’s hope they got an A! The interview can be read here.
Reading McCarthy Podcast
Scott Yarbrough debuted this new podcast in January 2021, and with 46 episodes to date on a variety of McCarthy-related topics, interest has been going strong. With well-known Cormackian readers and scholars like Steve Frye, Dianne Luce, and Jay Watson, Yarbrough explores different works and various essential aspects of McCarthy’s writing.
New Scholarly Books
Bryan Giemza's Science and Literature in Cormac McCarthy's Expanding Worlds is new from Bloomsbury Press, and in it he argues that McCarthy is the exceptional figure whose work allows and encourages us to interrogate the marriage of the sciences and humanities. Drawing from previously unsurfaced archival connections as well as a range of primary sources and interview subjects, including those close to McCarthy, Giemza places McCarthy's work within contemporary scientific discourse and literary criticism.
Steven Frye's Unguessed Kinships: Naturalism and the Geography of Hope in Cormac McCarthy is now out from the University of Alabama Press, as part of their series Studies in American Literary Realism and Naturalism. Frye considers McCarthy's work in light of literary naturalism, a more nuanced and far-reaching genus than the oversimplified Darwinism that many think of.
Dianne Luce's long-awaited chronicle of McCarthy's early career is now out with the University of South Carolina Press: Embracing Vocation: Cormac McCarthy's Writing Life, 1959-1974. Using extensive archival research, Luce tells the story of the creative evolution of McCarthy's first three novels.
Patrick O'Connor's Cormac McCarthy, Philosophy and the Physics of the Damned is now out from Edinburgh University Press. O'Connors argues that McCarthy's work articulates a distinct literary philosophy, one that pivots on themes of mortality, education, nihilism, the political, materialism, and language.
Lydia Cooper’s new book Cormac McCarthy: A Complexity Theory of Literature, is now available! Cooper combines the fields of evolutionary economics and the humanities to examine how McCarthy’s works demonstrate our need to recognize the interrelated complexities of economic policies, environmental crises, and how public policy and rhetoric shape our value systems.
Approaches to Teaching the Works of Cormac McCarthy, edited by Stacey Peebles and Ben West, has finally hit the shelves, with chapters by a number of familiar names, and guidance for teaching McCarthy in a variety of classrooms and in many different contexts--from high school to grad school, with attention to topics like region, sexuality, apocalypse, violence, leadership, borders, and ecology.