Appalachian Work of Cormac McCarthy


The early work of Cormac McCarthy, consisting of his first four published novels, can be classified as Appalachian both by its setting and by its related criticism. More recently, McCarthy’s western novels have won him public acclaim and presently many consider him to be one of the best working novelists of our time. Still, there is a great deal of scholarly work that has been conducted regarding his early work, which speaks of McCarthy as a Southern and Appalachian writer. A good deal of this scholarship is criticism specific to Appalachian literature. This pathfinder is designed as an introduction to the literature and other material about Cormac McCarthy’s Appalachian period that is available in the Belk Library or in the W.L. Eury Appalachian Collection.

Introductory Text: 

Arnold, Edwin T., and Dianne C. Luce. Perspectives on Cormac McCarthy. Southern quarterly series. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1999. ASU MAIN STACKS PS3563.C337 Z82 1999

Library of Congress Subject Headings: 

Highly relevant

  • McCarthy, Cormac, 1933- -- Criticism
  • McCarthy, Cormac, 1933- -- Settings.
  • Tennessee -- Fiction.
  • Tennessee -- Fiction.
  • Tennessee River -- Fiction.
  • Tennessee, East -- Fiction.

Also relevant

  • Country life in literature.
  • Men -- Tennessee, East -- Fiction.
  • Personal space in literature.
  • Psychological fiction.
  • Psychopaths -- Fiction.
  • Setting (Literature)
  • Southern States -- In literature.
  • Violence in literature

More general

  • Abandoned children -- Fiction.
  • American literature -- 20th century – History and criticism.
  • American literature -- Southern States – History and criticism.
  • Animals in literature.
  • Brothers and sisters -- Fiction.
  • Community life -- Fiction.
  • Domestic fiction.
  • Family in literature.
  • Incest -- Fiction.
  • Legends in literature.
  • Men in literature.
  • Modernism (Literature) -- United States.
  • Myth in literature.
  • National characteristics, American, in literature.
  • Pastoral fiction, American – History
Clipping Files Subject Headings – W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection: 
  • Authors – Appalachia
  • Literature – Appalachia
  • Knoxville - Tennessee
  • Mountain People – Stereotypes
  • Storytelling
  • Legends
  • University of Tennessee (UT), Knoxville
Library of Congress Call Numbers: 
  • PS3563.C337
  • PS173.B74F56
  • PS261.W56
  • PS261.C48
  • PS3563.C337
  • PS261.C48
  • PS261.W56
  • PS261.S617
  • Also PZ4.M1227 in ASU SPEC APP COLL

Arnold, Edwin T., and Dianne C. Luce. Cormac McCarthy. Hattiesburg, Miss: University of Southern Mississippi, 1992 ASU SPEC APP COLL PS3563.C337 Z8975 1992

Bell, Vereen M. The Achievement of Cormac McCarthy. Southern Literary Studies. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1988. ASU MAIN STACKS PS3563.C337 Z58 1988

Hall, Wade H., and Rick Wallach. Sacred Violence: A Reader’s Companion to Cormac McCarthy: Selected Essays from the First McCarthy Conference. Bellarmine College, Louisville, Kentucky, October 15-17, 1993. El Paso: University of Texas at El Paso, 1995. ASU SPEC APP COLL PS3563.C337 Z89 1995

Jarrett, Robert L. Cormac McCarthy. Twayne’s United States Authors Series, TUSAS 679. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1997. ASU APP COLL PS3563.C337 Z74 1997

Guides, Encyclopedias, and Dictionaries: 

Cox, Dianne L. [Dianne C. Luce]. “Cormac McCarthy.” Dictionary of Literary Biography: American Novelists Since World War II. Second Series. Ed. James E.
Kibler, Jr. Detroit: Gale Research, 1980. 6: 224-32. ASU MAIN STACKS PS21 .D48 v. 6

Magill, Frank N. Cyclopedia of World Authors II. Pasadena, Calif: Salem Press, 1989. Vol. 3: 964-65. ASU MAIN STACKS PN451 .C93 1989

Mills, Jerry Leath. “Cormac McCarthy (1933-).” Southern Writers: A New Biographical Dictionary. Ed. Joseph M. Flora and Amber Vogel. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 2006. 268-69. ASU MAIN STACKS PS261 .S595 2006

Palmer, Louis III. “McCarthy, Cormac.” Encyclopedia of Appalachia Ed. Rudy Abramson and Jean Haskell Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2006. 1072. ASU APP COLL F106 .E53 2006

Spencer, William C. “Cormac McCarthy.” Beacham’s Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction. Biography Series, vol. 2. Ed. Kirk H. Beetz. Osprey, FL: Beacham, 1996. 1232-34. ASU REFERENCE PN56.P55 B43 1996

Welker, Robert L. “Cormac [sic] McCarthy.” Southern Writers: A Biographical Dictionary. Ed. Robert Bain, Joseph M. Flora and Louis D. Rubin, Jr. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1979. 290. ASU MAIN STACKS PS261 .S59


Luce, Diane “Cormac McCarthy: A Bibliography.” Southern Quarterly 30 (Summer 1992): 143-51. Revised and rpt. Perspectives on Cormac McCarthy. Ed. Edwin T. Arnold and Dianne C. Luce. Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 1993. 195-210. Updated, abbreviated version Cormac McCarthy Journal 1 (Spring 2001): 72-84. [Lists scholarly articles from 1998-2000.] Updated to August 2007 ONLINE at also ASU MAIN STACKS PS3563.C337 Z82 1999

Mills, Jerry Leath. “Cormac McCarthy (1933— ).” Contemporary Fiction Writers of the South: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook. Ed. Joseph M. Flora and Robert Bain. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1993. [286]-94. ASU REFERENCE PS261 .C565 1993

Reisman, Rosemary M. Canfield, and Suzanne Booker-Canfield. “Cormac McCarthy.” Contemporary Southern Men Fiction Writers: An Annotated Bibliography. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow P, 1998. 257-68. ASU MAIN STACKS Z1251.S7 R45 1998

Trenz, Brandon. “McCarthy, Charles, Jr. 1933- (Cormac McCarthy).” Contemporary Authors: A Bio-Bibliographical Guide to Current Writers in Fiction, General Nonfiction, Poetry, Journalism, Drama, Motion Pictures, Television, and Other Fields. Ed.Susan M. Trosky. New revision ser. Vol. 42. Detroit: Gale,1994. 303-06. Rev. ed. Ed. Daniel Jones and John D. Jorgenson. New revision ser. Vol. 69. 1999. 334-39. ASU MAIN STACKS PS129 .C58

Abstracts and Indices: 

Essay and General Literature Index. 1985 – present. Online source available at This is a good source that allows you to search by author and specific work. Successful search queries include: McCarthy, Cormac, 1933- / About and also McCarthy, Cormac, 1933- / About individual works / The orchard keeper (here one can replace The orchard keeper with other Appalachian works by McCarthy)

JSTOR. Online archive searchable by author and specific work. Available at Contains complete collections of many relevant literature journals.

Literature Resource Center. Available online at Good source for criticism, by book title and author.


The Cormac McCarthy Journal c/o John Wegner, Editor; Department of English; Angelo State Universit; Box 10894, ASU Station; San Angelo, Texas 76909. Published once yearly, devoted entirely to McCarthy scholarship with common relevance to the Appalachian works. ASU FULL TEXT AVAILABLE THROUGH MASTERFILE PREMIERE ONLINE

The Southern Quarterly. Hattiesburg, University of Southern Mississippi. 1962 – present. Commonly publishes McCarthy Scholarship specific to his Southern/Appalachian works. ASU PERIODICALS v.2- 1963-

Southern Literary Journal. [Chapel Hill] Dept. of English, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. ASU PERIODICALS v.1, 1968-v.34, 2002. ASU WEB ACCESS

Compiled by: 

Compiler: Seaton Tarrant, 18 November 2008