#29: Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy

In this episode, Jason Staples and Erik Rostad discuss book 29 of the 2017 Books of Titans Reading list – Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy.

Show Notes

  • Suggested by Jocko Willink on page 351 in Tools of Titans.
  • Purchase book on Amazon.
  • Purchase audio book on Audible.
  • Author: Cormac McCarthy
  • Books of Titans Book Review
  • Yale Lectures
    • http://oyc.yale.edu/english/engl-291/lecture-17 – In this first of two lectures on Blood Meridian, Professor Hungerford walks us through some of the novel’s major sources and influences, showing how McCarthy engages both literary tradition and American history, and indeed questions of origins and originality itself. The Bible, Moby-Dick, Paradise Lost, the poetry of William Wordsworth, and the historical narrative of Sam Chamberlain all contribute to the style and themes of this work that remains, in its own right, a provocative meditation on history, one that explores the very limits of narrative and human potential.
    • http://oyc.yale.edu/english/engl-291/lecture-18 – In this second lecture on Blood Meridian, Professor Hungerford builds a wide-ranging argument about the status of good and evil in the novel from a small detail, the Bible the protagonist carries with him in spite of his illiteracy. This detail is one of many in the text that continually lure us to see the kid in the light of a traditional hero, superior to his surroundings, developing his responses in a familiar narrative structure of growth. McCarthy’s real talent, and his real challenge, Hungerford argues, is in fact to have invoked the moral weight of his sources–biblical, literary, and historical–while emptying them of moral content. Much as the kid holds the Bible an object and not a spiritual guide, McCarthy seizes the material of language–its sound, its cadences–for ambiguous, if ambitious, ends.
  • Jocko interview on The Tim Ferriss Show podcast
  • History on Fire Conquest of Mexico Series
  • G.K. Chesterton book Tremendous Trifles containing The Red Angel which contains this quote:
    • “Fairy tales, then, are not responsible for producing in children fear, or any of the shapes of fear; fairy tales do not give the child the idea of the evil or the ugly; that is in the child already, because it is in the world already. Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon.”
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