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Reading McCarthy Without Walls

by Peter Josyph

Pub Date: March 1st, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-292-74429-5
Publisher: Univ. of Texas

A painter, filmmaker, author and Cormac McCarthy authority/scholar/fan/groupie (Adventures in Reading Cormac McCarthy, 2010) offers a gumbo of McCarthy interviews, reflections, paeans and analyses.

The title alludes to the original 1998 exhibition of Josyph paintings—scores of images, all of McCarthy’s former house in El Paso, Texas. After a rambling introduction that insists we ought to pay more attention to McCarthy’s full title of Blood Meridian Or The Evening Redness in the West, Josyph commences a series of conversations with other McCarthyites. The author walks the streets of Knoxville, Tenn., with Merle Morrow, who knows all the McCarthy connections there. Then it’s a long conversation with stage director Tom Cornford about directing McCarthy—with special attention to his The Sunset Limited. Next: a lengthy exchange (email? fax? letter?) between the author and Marty Priola, a friend who set up the McCarthy Society website. They discuss The Crossing, sort of, though the conversations drift here and there—with occasional discussions about a dream woman named Heather, about Al Pacino’s capacity to play McCarthy and about theology (they exchange some sharp words in these passages). In the second part of his work, Josyph focuses on his McCarthy paintings, some sightings of his hero and a phone conversation with him. The author records his extensive travels to other writers’ homes (Poe’s in Fordham among them), reveals his liberal politics and vast reading, and displays an impressive self-regard, even for a memoirist. The lone constant here: an unbridled admiration for McCarthy, whom he praises continually and labels “a rarefied genius.”

Combines the intensity and intentions of a true scholar with the hormonal passions of a Justin Bieber fan.