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Literature

Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian

    Could Cormac McCarthy‘s epic novel Blood Meridian be the Genesis of the Gothic Western genre? While there have been earlier missives that have been emitted (Jonah Hex, etc.) it is Blood Meridian that has been most referenced, mentioned and borrowed from since it’s release in 1985.
Blood Meridian or the Evening Redness in the West is an epic Western (or anti-Western) novel by American author Cormac McCarthy. McCarthy’s fifth book, it was published by Random House.
    The majority of the story follows a teenager referred to only as “the kid,” with the bulk of the text devoted to his experiences with the Glanton gang, a historical group of scalp hunters who massacred Native Americans and others in the United States–Mexico borderlands from 1849 to 1850 for bounty, pleasure, and eventually out of nihilistic habit. The gang members ravage the landscape like a 19th century Mongol horde, and their appearance (members have branded faces, missing eyes and ears) is horrifying to all they come across.
Blood Meridian    The role of antagonist is gradually filled by Judge Holden, a physically massive, highly-educated, exceptionally multi-talented member of the gang, depicted as completely bald from head to toe. Although the novel initially generated only lukewarm critical and commercial reception, it has since become highly acclaimed and is widely recognized as McCarthy’s masterpiece as well as one of the greatest American novels of all time. Time magazine included the novel in its TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005.
    Describing events of extreme violence, McCarthy’s prose is sparse, yet expansive, with an often biblical quality and frequent religious references. McCarthy’s writing style involves many unusual or archaic words, no quotation marks for dialogue, and no apostrophes to signal most contractions.
    McCarthy conducted considerable research to write the book. Critics have repeatedly demonstrated that even brief and seemingly inconsequential passages of Blood Meridian rely on historical evidence. The Glanton gang segments are based on Samuel Chamberlain’s account of the group in his memoir My Confession: The Recollections of a Rogue, which he wrote during the latter part of his life. Chamberlain rode with John Joel Glanton and his company between 1849 and 1850. The novel’s antagonist Judge Holden appeared in Chamberlain’s account, but his true identity remains a mystery. Chamberlain does not appear in the novel.
    There have been a number of attempts by different filmmakers to create a motion picture adaptation of Blood Meridian. However, all attempts have failed during the development or pre-production stages. A common perception is that the story is “unfilmable”, due to its unrelenting violence and dark tone. In an interview with Cormac McCarthy by The Wall Street Journal in 2009, McCarthy denied this notion, with his perspective being that it would be “very difficult to do and would require someone with a bountiful imagination and a lot of balls. But the payoff could be extraordinary.” You can grab this haunting classic HERE.

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