‘For this world also which seems to us a thing of stone and flower and blood is not a thing at all but is a tale.' Cormac McCarthy, by profession, is concerned with narrative. Being so concerned, conclusions can be drawn by clues both explicit and implicit pertaining to McCarthy's stance on the condition of truth, narrative, and knowledge in our modern society. An analysis of his work yields a general tendency to exemplify the narrative. In doing so McCarthy sets himself against a specific trend in postmodern thought burgeoned by Jean-François Lyotard, that being the rejection of pre-modern, or narrative knowledge by modern, or scientific knowledge.
[...] The source of moral application to scientific knowledge is necessarily narrative knowledge which, as Lyotard stated, includes within it the capacity for ethical consideration and goodness and is evident in Blood Meridian in Toadvine's outrage at the Judge's murder of a child whom he has adopted, but is even more profoundly apparent in the witness of the reader by narrative transmission (reading the narrative), who cannot help but pass moral judgement on the self-proclaimed Judge. Yet another echo of WWII, although faint, is evident in the story Tobin tells the Kid, wherein the Judge leads a group of men who have run out of gunpowder away from pursuing Indians; he gathers a myriad of found substances and creates gunpowder in the crater of a dormant volcano. [...]
[...] McCarthy qualifies the narrative in terms almost identical to Lyotard's: the world was a tale who but the witness could give it life?' This statement is a strong echo of Lyotard's assertion regarding the pragmatics of narrative knowledge and the ease of its transmission: narrator's only claim to competence for telling the story is the fact that he has heard it himself. The current narratee gains potential access to the same authority by simply listening.' McCarthy makes an interesting assertion regarding the nature of narrative knowledge which conflicts with scientific knowledge and its supposed monopoly on truth. [...]
[...] The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. trans. Geoff Bennington and Brian Massumi. Copyright 1979. University of Minnesota Press. Anthologized in A Postmodern Reader. Edited by Joseph Natoli and Linda Hucheon. State University of New York Press p Lyotard, p Lyotard, p Braver, Lee PhD. Lecture on the History of Postmodernism. Postmodern Philosophy, Hiram College. Ca. May 2007. Lyotard p McCarthy, Cormac. The Road. Vintage International. New York The Crossing, p Lyotard, p The Crossing, p See note #10. McCarthy, [...]
[...] Edited by Joseph Natoli and Linda Hucheon. State University of New York Press p McCarthy, Cormac. The Crossing. Alfred A. Knopf. New York p McCarthy, Cormac. The Road. Vintage International. New York McCarthy, Cormac. The Stonemason. Vintage International. New York p McCarthy, Cormac. The Sunset Limited. Vintage International. New York p McCarthy, Cormac. Blood Meridian. Vintage International. New York p.335. Phillips, Dana. History and the Ugly Facts of Blood Meridian. American Literature. 68:2 (June 1996), 433-60. Duke University Press. [...]
[...] A survey of the rest of McCarthy's work show a general tendency to favor modern knowledge over narrative, in regard to clout in the modern world; while McCarthy obviously attaches great significance to narrative knowledge, especially its moral component, it usually proves to be overshadowed by science. White's argument is one where scientific knowledge has been brought to what McCarthy considers its logical conclusion: . culture tends to contribute to human misery. That the more one knows the unhappy one is likely to be . [...]
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