Monday, October 4, 2010

"Unpacking" McCarthy's Archives


In December 2007, McCarthy donated his archives to the Wittliff Collections at Texas State University-San Marcos, where Steve Davis works as a curator. In "Unpacking Cormac McCarthy," he describes his initial digging into McCarthy's old files, manuscripts, letters, and annotations.

Because of McCarthy's unrelenting reclusiveness, much speculation has surrounded his life and writing process. Thus, Davis' experience is at once intriguing and enlightening. He ends his article by saying,
When I’d begun my research in the McCarthy archive, I’d pretty much believed in the mythological version of him. I viewed McCarthy as the ultimate literary outsider, a man immune to most commercial considerations. As he’d told Oprah on TV, he didn’t really care whether millions of people read his books. The portrait of McCarthy that emerges in the archives is more complex. McCarthy had briefly allowed me into his living room that cold December morning, but it was the archives that allowed me to wander around the rooms of his house.
—Steve Davis, "Unpacking Cormac McCarthy," The Texas Observer (September 23, 2010)

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