Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
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.
Elliott, Catherine, "When Mountain meets Road: Mfankind's connection to nature through sublime theory in Shelley's Mont Blanc and McCarthy's The Road" (2012). Honors Theses. 805.