English in Africa

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Cormac McCarthy and the South Africans

Gareth Cornwell


In his well-known interview with Richard Woodward, Cormac McCarthy had occasion to remark: “The ugly fact is books are made out of books” (Woodward). Using his words as the point of departure for a detailed investigation of a multi-stranded case of intertextuality, I examine the influence of McCarthy’s Blood Meridian on three South African novels – Mike Nicol’s Horseman, Damon Galgut’s The Quarry and James Whyle’s The Book of War – in a way that I hope sheds light on the provenance, literariness and meaning of these texts.

Keywords: Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, Damon Galgut, Mike Nicol, James Whyle

AJOL African Journals Online