Determinism and Fatalism in the Novels of Cormac McCarthy (Book Collection; 1/31/ 2014; 9/30/2014)

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Brad Bannon and John Vanderheide
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We invite essays for an edited book collection on the entangled themes of determinism and fatalism in the novels of Cormac McCarthy. For McCarthy, determinism typically denotes a world of natural law – of necessary effects following upon causes ad infinitum – while fatalism seems to operate from within the confines of an interior realm that may or may not be entirely subject to the dictates of that law. The nature of the relationship between these two ostensibly distinct realms constitutes the substance of existence in McCarthy’s fiction, and McCarthy frequently situates his narratives at the raw and desperate places where these two realms meet, often at cross purposes.

We encourage readings that relate McCarthy’s deterministic settings and fatalistic characters to aesthetic, philosophical, and theological sources, as well as socio-historical and cultural conditions. We especially welcome approaches that engage with any of the following topics in relation to this theme: American and European religious thought (Edwards, Boehme, Pascal); Continental and Analytic traditions of Western philosophy (Spinoza, Kant, Schelling, W. James, Wittgenstein); Eastern religion and philosophy (Hinduism, Daoism, Confucianism); Contemporary Critical Discourses (Gender and Sexuality Studies, Postcolonialism, Cultural Studies); American literary traditions (Transcendentalism, Realism, Naturalism, Dark Romanticism).

Essays are expected to demonstrate a high level of engagement with McCarthy’s work as well as with McCarthy criticism. For first consideration, 750-1000 word proposals should be received by January 31, 2014. We will need to have completed essays of approximately 8,000 words in hand by September 30, 2014. Please copy proposals and queries to both Brad Bannon at and John Vanderheide at

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