The Early Drafts of Blood Meridian
I read Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian way, way back in 2011 when this blog probably had about 10 followers. The novel was my seventh read from the Time list.
To this day, I still say it’s one of the most memorable books I’ve read. McCarthy’s prose, and lack of punctuation, take a bit of getting used to, but his characters are incredible. The Judge, for example, is one of the most frightening characters in all of literature.
Recently, Texas State University purchased 98 boxes of notes from McCarthy’s archive for $2 million. Included in the collection are the first drafts of Blood Meridian from 1975.
Below is the opening page from one of the early drafts:
One of the major insights that these original drafts provide us access to is the way McCarthy seeks to take us out of the “mind” of the characters, and to limit our access to their background and psychology so that we’re faced to struggle with the questions more than landing on easy answers.
Here’s an early, heavily edited draft of a jail scene:
I love this kind of stuff. So cool to see a small, behind-the-scenes look at a classic author’s process.
Fascinating stuff here about Blood Meridian, a novel that Harold Bloom called a “universal tragedy of blood.”