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A Symposium

Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska

September 21-23, 2023

Draft Program


The opening reception will he held at Wilson and Washburn (1407 Harney St.), a restaurant about one mile from the Creighton campus. All other events will take place on the 4th floor of the Harper Center on Creighton's campus. A visitor parking lot is next door to the center.

Thursday, September 21

5:00-7:00     Registration and Opening Reception (drinks and heavy hors d'oeuvres)


Friday, Sept 22

8:30-9:50        Session One

“Platonic Themes of Love and Beauty in Cormac McCarthy’s The Passenger and Stella Maris,” Terra Kirkland, Independent Scholar

“The Incest Metaphor in Cormac McCarthy’s Outer Dark, The Passenger, and Stella Maris,” Travis McDonald, Front Range Community College

“Brotherly Love, Vaudeville, and Identity: A Lynchian-Burroughs Transgender Narrative in Cormac McCarthy’s New Novels,” Candy Minx, Independent Scholar

10:00-11:20    Session Two

“Exploring New Horizons: Natural Imagery in The Passenger,” Kateřina Kovářová, University of South Bohemia and Charles University

“Alexander Grothendieck and Alicia Western: Dreams, Mutants, the Internal Engine,” Dorian Garibay, Independent Scholar

“Life and Death: Tracing the Theme of Suicide through Cormac McCarthy’s The Passenger and Stella Maris,” Brett Lewis, Baylor University


11:20-1:00      Lunch on your own

1:00-2:20        Session Three

“’The last pagan on earth:’ An Allegorical Reading of Bobby Western’s Consciousness,” Cassie Polasek, Texas State University

“The Incongruousness of Specialization: The Passenger and Stella Maris as Failures of Performance in Respective Disciplines,” Daniel Charlton, Montana State University, Billings

Stella Maris and the Dramatic Mode,” Bill Hardwig, University of Tennessee, Knoxville


2:30-3:50        Session Four

“Food and Gender in The Passenger and Stella Maris,” Nell Sullivan, University of Houston, Downtown

“Cormac, Foucault, and Antipsychiatry” Brian Schill, University of North Dakota

5:00-7:00 Dinner and Keynote Address

“’An Unknown Tongue’: God, Complexity, and the Limits of Secular Epistemology in Cormac McCarthy’s The Passenger and Stella Maris

Steven Frye, California State University Bakersfield


Saturday, September 23

8:30-9:50        Session One

“Weird Object Ontology: Eco-Criticism, and Apocalypse in Cormac McCarthy’s The Passenger and Stella Maris,” Joshua Cody Ward, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

“The Labyrinth and Interpreter’s Despair in Kafka and Late McCarthy,” William Quirk, American University

“’What are you supposed to be?’: The Thalidomide Kid and the Grotesque Bodies of The Passenger,” Brent Cline, Hillsdale College


10:00-11:20    Session Two

“The Return of Philosophical Pessimism in Cormac McCarthy’s Stella Maris,” Jonathan Elmore, Savannah State University, and Rick Elmore, Appalachian State University

“A Subtle Obsession with Uniqueness: Doubles and Originality in The Passenger and Stella Maris,” Bryan Vescio, Highpoint University

“The Deep Foundation of the World: McCarthy’s Passengers in Time,” Vernon Cisney, Gettysburg College

11:20-1:00      Lunch on your own


1:00-2:20        Session Three

“The Quantum Solution of The Passenger,” Rick Wallach, Independent Scholar

“Toward a Quantum Gothic: McCarthy’s The Passenger and Stella Maris,” Steven Flores, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

“Incest and Intertextualism: Diving Deep into The Passenger and Stella Maris,” Scott Yarbrough, Charleston Southern University


2:30-3:50        Session Four

“Cormac McCarthy’s Dyad: The Entangled Siblings of The Passenger and Stella Maris,” Stacey Peebles, Centre College

“The Madness of Language: Schizophrenia and Language in Stella Maris,” Lydia Cooper, Seattle University

“Evolved in Darkness: McCarthy’s Cave Parable(s) in The Passenger’s Drafts and The Road,” Dianne C. Luce, Independent Scholar


4:00-4:30        Concluding Remarks, Stacey Peebles, President, the Cormac McCarthy Society

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