Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Kara Doyle

Second Advisor

Andrew Burkett




dystopian fiction, novel, text, representation, authors


Cormac McCarthy's The Road (2005) is a strong example of how post-modern dystopian fiction has captivated the mass imagination. Contemporary scholars have discussed The Road thoroughly, commenting on the text's redemptive journey, post-apocalyptic message or cauterized terrain. However, I argue that McCarthy's novel is not merely a modern text with an alienating landscape. Rather, the story conveys a strongly sublime aesthetic, which is recognizable from nineteenth­century British Romantic works such as Percy Bysshe Shelley's Mont Blanc (1817). These texts have a shared obsession vvith the fictional representation and investigation of the sublime aesthetic and humankind's relationship with the natural world. Indeed, there is a fascinating correlation betvveen the tvvo texts, in terms of how the authors create a union betvveen humankind and nature. A1ont Blanc and The Road each have a functioning triad within, by which nature and humankind are balanced and reach equilibrium through the use of a third party. McCarthy's and Shelley's respective works show strong connections and are clearly connected. However, I do not propose that McCarthy drew directly from Romantic texts. Instead, I argue that the relationship betvveen The Road and Af ont Blanc can best be explained through l\Iichel Foucault's theory of the episteme, and I thus argue that they share similar themes and concerns because both authors tap into the same societal, aesthetic and historical topio when producing their respective literary texts. I contend that issues that spurred on the Romantic poets to write, have resurfaced again in the tv:enty-first century, and are contributing to modern literature in new and excmng ways.