From a New York Times article on Cormac McCarthy:
The implication from this quote is that McCarthy defines literature as writing that deals with issues of life and death.His list of those whom he calls the "good writers" -- Melville, Dostoyevsky, Faulkner -- precludes anyone who doesn't "deal with issues of life and death." Proust and Henry James don't make the cut. "I don't understand them," he says. "To me, that's not literature. A lot of writers who are considered good I consider strange."
First thing's first: McCarthy's writing suggests that he lives up to what he believes. Blood Meridian is a commentary on how people live off the deaths of others. The Road attempts to give us a reason to continue living even when death is all around us. No Country For Old Men follows a Sheriff whose life is a failure in a violent postmodern world.
When I first read McCarthy's idea, I started thinking about all the literature I love. Edgar Allan Poe. Ernest Hemingway. Hunter S. Thompson. Irwin Shaw. Every writer I love seems to fall under McCarthy's definition of literature.
I have two questions for everyone.
1. What do you think about McCarthy's statements?
2. Can you think of any "literature" you enjoy that McCarthy would not consider literature?